Japanese dramas in 2023


We can always count on drama and anime to provide us with a much-needed escape from the harsh realities of life. If you’re on a lookout for the next show to binge-watch, check out our list of new Japanese dramas in 2023 – because there are only so many times you can put First Love and Alice In Borderland on repeat. 


1. The Makanai: Cooking For The Maiko House


Japanese drama 2023 - The Makanai: Cooking For The Maiko HouseImage credit: Netflix

With dreams to become maikos, Kiyo and Sumire, 2 childhood friends, move from Aomori to Kyoto. Blessed with an innate talent for the arts, Sumire excels at her apprenticeship, while Kiyo struggles to keep up. 

Later, Kiyo finds a new calling as she discovers her passion for cooking and becomes the titular makanai – an in-house chef for the maiko house. 

Directed by Palme d’Or-winning filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda, The Makanai: Cooking For The Maiko House is a heartwarming series with gentle and emotionally tender sequences. With plenty of mouth-watering food scenes, the episodes aren’t going to be the only thing you’d want to binge. 

Watch the trailer here:

The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House | Official Trailer | Netflix
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The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House | Official Trailer | Netflix

Video credit: Netflix

Available on: Netflix
Airs: 12th January 2023


2. Hyakumankai Ieba Yokatta


Japanese drama 2023 - Hyakumankai Ieba YokattaImage credit: TVer

Fans who can’t get enough of Takeru Satoh can catch him in Hyakumankai Ieba Yokatta, a mystery romance drama where he plays the deceased Naoki. Though he had plans to propose to his childhood friend Yui, Naoki mysteriously dies. However, he continues to wander on earth around as a spirit. 

Japanese drama 2023 - Hyakumankai Ieba YokattaImage credit: @hyakumankai_tbs

Unaware that he has passed, Naoki tries to talk to Yui, but to no avail. His hope comes in the form of Yuzuru, a detective who’s investigating a murder case and who happens to be the only one who can see Naomi.  

Watch the trailer here:

井上真央×佐藤健×松山ケンイチ!! 主演級トリオが連続ドラマ初共演で送る切なくて温かいファンタジーラブストーリー!! 金曜ドラマ『100万回 言えばよかった』1/13スタート【過去回はパラビで配信中】
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井上真央×佐藤健×松山ケンイチ!! 主演級トリオが連続ドラマ初共演で送る切なくて温かいファンタジーラブストーリー!! 金曜ドラマ『100万回 言えばよかった』1/13スタート【過去回はパラビで配信中】

Video credit: TBS

Available on: Netflix
Airs: 13th January 2023


3. This Hospital Is Like A Birdcage


Japanese drama 2023 - This Hospital Is Like A BirdcageImage credit: TVer

This Hospital Is Like A Birdcage is best described as “Money Heist meets Grey’s Anatomy”. Infiltrated by an unknown armed group wearing demon masks, a hospital has been taken over and held hostage. 

Saburo, a police officer who’s on a leave of absence due to a traumatic event that happened in the line of duty, happens to be at the hospital for an appointment. He sets out to rescue the hostages before it’s too late. 

Watch the trailer here:

【主演・櫻井翔】2023年1月期新土曜ドラマ「大病院占拠」本編映像verⅢ 1月14日(土)夜10時スタート!
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【主演・櫻井翔】2023年1月期新土曜ドラマ「大病院占拠」本編映像verⅢ 1月14日(土)夜10時スタート!

Video credit: Nippon TV Drama

Available on: TVer, Hulu
Airs: 14th January 2023


4. On A Starry Night


Japanese drama 2023 - On A Starry NightImage credit: @goodmorning_tv

To take a breather from her mundane routine at work, Suzu, a 35-year-old gynaecologist goes solo camping and has a fateful encounter with Issei. Having had a drop too much, Suzu wakes up the next morning with no collection of what happened, and watches as Issei gestures something before leaving. 

Turns out, he was cursing in sign language that he has “cleaned up her vomit, (you) stupid woman”. What awaits them is a fateful reunion as On A Starry Night follows the love story between the unlikely pair.   

Watch the trailer here:

『星降る夜に』2023年1月17日(火)よる9:00~/第1話 予告動画(120秒)
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『星降る夜に』2023年1月17日(火)よる9:00~/第1話 予告動画(120秒)

Video credit: tvasahi

Available on: TVer
Airs: 17th January 2023


5. Themis’s Law School Classroom


Japanese drama 2023 - Themis's Law School ClassroomImage credit: MyDramaList

What makes a good lawyer? To most teachers at Seinan University Law School, imparting the know-how to ace the bar exam is enough, much to the chagrin of Shizuku.  To her, being book smart and simply passing the bar exam hardly qualifies one as being a proper lawyer. 

Determined to help aspiring lawyers in her law school become better legal practitioners, she decides to teach her students how to be a truly good lawyer – by having them learn more about people. 

Watch the trailer here:

【超特報!】放送直前YouTube限定公開!新月9ドラマ「女神(テミス)の教室」PR動画
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【超特報!】放送直前YouTube限定公開!新月9ドラマ「女神(テミス)の教室」PR動画

Video credit: Fuji TV

Available on: TVer
Airs: 9th January 2023


6. War Of Traps


Japanese drama 2023 - war of trapsImage adapted from: Kansai Telecasting Corporation

Revenge is a dish best served cold, and sometimes in the form of a satisfying drama like War Of Traps. Grateful to Inukai, a member of the House of Representatives who saved him 20 years ago, Toru vows to devote his life to the politician as his secretary. 

But after being ruthlessly betrayed by the man he serves, the protagonist decides to exact revenge on those in positions of power. 

Watch the trailer here:

主演・草彅剛、壮絶な復讐劇!戦争シリーズ第3弾『罠の戦争』2023年1月16日(月)よる10時スタート!
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主演・草彅剛、壮絶な復讐劇!戦争シリーズ第3弾『罠の戦争』2023年1月16日(月)よる10時スタート!

Video credit: Kansai Telecasting Corporation

Available on: TVer, Netflix
Airs: 16th January 2023


7. Marriage Is Difficult for A Ninja


Japanese drama 2023 - Marriage Is Difficult for A NinjaImage credit: MyDramaList

Adapted from a novel, Marriage Is Difficult For A Ninja follows a seemingly normal couple in a blissful marriage.

Unbeknownst to each other, they are both ninjas. To make matters worse, they are from the Koka and Iga families respectively, which are 2 feuding families who have hated each other for generations. This romance comedy follows the couple’s chaotic marriage as they try to keep their true identities under wraps. 

Watch the trailer here:

Marriage is Difficult for a Ninja (tentative) 【Fuji TV Official】
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Marriage is Difficult for a Ninja (tentative) 【Fuji TV Official】

Video credit: Fuji TV

Available on: TVer
Airs: 5th January 2023


8. Get Ready!


Japanese drama 2023 - get ready!Image credit: MyDramaList

Get Ready! Is a medical drama with a dark twist as it centres on Eisuke, also known by his moniker “Ace”. A patissier by day and a genius surgeon by night, Ace performs illegal medical procedures in exchange for an exorbitant sum. 

Together with his team, which includes negotiator “Joker”, nurse “Queen”, and hacker “Spade”, they impart life lessons to their patients. 

Watch the trailer here:

“お前に生き延びる価値はあるのか?”1話完結、完全オリジナル!! 日曜劇場『Get Ready!』2023/1/8(日)スタート【過去回はパラビで配信中】
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“お前に生き延びる価値はあるのか?”1話完結、完全オリジナル!! 日曜劇場『Get Ready!』2023/1/8(日)スタート【過去回はパラビで配信中】

Video credit: TBS

Available on: TVer
Airs: 8th January 2023


9. Reversal Orchestra


Japanese drama 2023 - Reversal Orchestra
Image credit: AsianWiki

Renowned violinist Hatsune stunned the world when she abruptly put a halt to her music career and disappeared from the stage 10 years ago. Now a 28-year-old who works at her local ward office, Hatsune lives a normal life.  

That is until Tokiwa, an eccentric maestro with a love for music, appears. Tasked by his father to revitalise the local orchestra, Tokiwa tries to recruit the former violinist to have her stand onstage again. 

Watch the trailer here:

【主演・門脇麦/田中圭】『リバーサルオーケストラ』60秒PR公開!1月11日(水)夜10時スタート!【新水曜ドラマ】
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【主演・門脇麦/田中圭】『リバーサルオーケストラ』60秒PR公開!1月11日(水)夜10時スタート!【新水曜ドラマ】

Video credit: Nippon TV Drama

Available on: TVer, Hulu
Airs: 11th January 2023


10. Warera ga Paradise


Japanese drama 2023 - Warera ga ParadiseImage credit: MyDramaList

An adaptation of a novel of the same title, Warera ga Paradise centres on the themes of nursing, ageing, and wealth disparity. As employees caring for rich elderly people at a high class nursing facility, Asako, Satsuki, and Kuniko are confronted with the reality of wealth disparity while they struggle to care for their parents, who are significantly less well-off. 

With hopes to change the system, the trio hatch a plan to break the status quo, where care is only given to those who can afford it. 

Available on: Yahoo Japan
Airs: 8th January 2023


11. Brush Up Life


Japanese drama 2023 - brush up lifeImage credit: MyDramaList

Comedy series Brush Up Life follows 33-year-old Asami, an ordinary person leading a simple life. She’s single, works as an administrative clerk at her local ward office, and lives with her parents. 

After her sudden passing due to an unexpected accident, Asami is given the chance to restart her life.  

Watch the trailer here:

【主演・安藤サクラ×脚本・バカリズム】新日曜ドラマ「ブラッシュアップライフ」が2分でわかる!あらすじ動画大公開!【日テレドラマ公式】
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【主演・安藤サクラ×脚本・バカリズム】新日曜ドラマ「ブラッシュアップライフ」が2分でわかる!あらすじ動画大公開!【日テレドラマ公式】

Video credit: Nippon TV Drama

Available on: TVer, Hulu
Airs: 8th January 2023


12. Yugure ni, Te wo Tsunagu


Japanese drama 2023 - Yugure ni, Te wo Tsunagu Image credit: TVer

If you’re perpetually on the lookout for a heart-racing romance drama, this one’s for you. Yugure ni, Te wo Tsunagu tells the heartwarming love story between Soramame and Oto. 

Hailing from the remote countryside in Kyushu, Soramame leaves her rural hometown to move to Tokyo, where her fiance lives. There, she meets Oto, an aspiring but struggling musician, and falls in love with him. 

Watch the trailer here:

広瀬すず×永瀬廉 夢に向かう2人の物語 火曜ドラマ『夕暮れに、手をつなぐ』1月17日スタート【過去回はパラビで配信中】
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広瀬すず×永瀬廉 夢に向かう2人の物語 火曜ドラマ『夕暮れに、手をつなぐ』1月17日スタート【過去回はパラビで配信中】

Video credit: TBS

Available on: TVer
Airs: 17th January 2023


13. Stand Up Start


Japanese drama 2023 - stand up start Image credit: Fuji TV

As the CEO of an investment company, Taiyo believes strongly that people are our greatest assets. To help those who are struggling in their careers or personal lives, the protagonist of Stand Up Start encourages them to find new meaning in life again by creating a startup company together. 

Watch the trailer here:

1月期水10フジ系ドラマ「スタンドUPスタート」【予告第二弾】30秒ver.
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1月期水10フジ系ドラマ「スタンドUPスタート」【予告第二弾】30秒ver.

Video credit: Fuji TV

Available on: TVer
Airs: 18th January 2023


14. Outsider: Metropolitan Police Department


Japanese drama 2023 - Outsider: Metropolitan Police Department
Image credit: AsianWiki

A man who acts and looks like a yakuza member isn’t exactly someone you’d expect to see working at the police station, but Eiji Kagawa proves otherwise. 

Transferred from the organised crime division, Eiji has been demoted and is now working at Sakuramachi Chuo Police Station. Working with fellow detective Kosuke Hasumi and rookie Nao Mizuki, the trio solves cases together. 

Watch the trailer here:

【キャラクター紹介/架川英児編】木曜ドラマ「警視庁アウトサイダー」2023年1月5日スタート!毎週木曜よる9時~放送
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【キャラクター紹介/架川英児編】木曜ドラマ「警視庁アウトサイダー」2023年1月5日スタート!毎週木曜よる9時~放送

Video credit: tvasahi

Available on: TVer, Abema
Airs: 5th January 2023


15. Suki Suki Wan Wan!


Japanese drama 2023 - suki suki wan wanImage credit: MyDramaList

In Suki Suki Wan Wan!, we follow Kotaro, an unemployed 26-year-old who spends his days idling around in his parents’ house without a goal in mind. 

Dressed in white from head to toe, a man suddenly appears in front of Kotaro and introduces himself as Ten. Though initially bewildered, Kotaro recalls that he used to have a white dog named Ten, and the mysterious man is none other than his reincarnated dog.  

Watch the trailer here:

1/23(月)24時59分スタート!シンドラ「すきすきワンワン!」主演・岸優太と浮所飛貴がお贈りする、ダメ男×元愛犬の愛情物語!
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1/23(月)24時59分スタート!シンドラ「すきすきワンワン!」主演・岸優太と浮所飛貴がお贈りする、ダメ男×元愛犬の愛情物語!

Video credit: Shindora Official Channel

Available on: TVer
Airs: 24th January 2023


16. Soredemo Kekkon Shitai to, Yatsura ga Itta


Japanese drama 2023 - Soredemo Kekkon Shitai to, Yatsura ga Itta Image credit: MyDramaList

As it turns out, rats can not only help even the most hopeless cook become a Michelin star chef, but also help solve wedding woes. 

In Soredemo Kekkon Shitai to, Yatsura ga Itta, a family of mice reside in a small shrine that’s located in the corner of a wedding hall in Tokyo. 

With the power to become humans, the family often transform themselves into wedding staff, helping couples overcome their problems and hold a successful ceremony. 

Watch the trailer here:

【公式】水ドラ25『それでも結婚したいと、ヤツらが言った。』60秒トレーラー | テレビ東京
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【公式】水ドラ25『それでも結婚したいと、ヤツらが言った。』60秒トレーラー | テレビ東京

Video credit: TV Tokyo

Available on: TVer
Airs: 5th January 2023


17. Ooku


Japanese drama 2023 - ooku
Image credit: Natalie

After a plague wiped out most of the male population in the Edo period, women rose to power as they took on the vacant jobs.

80 years after the disease outbreak, the social structure in Japan has thoroughly changed. Important political positions are held by women, with the handful of men left reduced to filling the roles of consorts, who reside in the titular Ooku. 

Available on: TVer
Airs: 10th January 2023


18. Brother Trap


Japanese drama 2023 - brother trapImage credit: TBS

Unable to move on from her ex-boyfriend, Yamato, Akari finds it hard to get over her heartbreak. But that changes when she meets Izumi, her college junior and a man of few words, and finds herself attracted to him. But little does she know that an innocent crush is going to bring a major upheaval in her life as Izumi and her ex turn out to be brothers. 

Watch the trailer here:

久間田琳加主演!一途で繊細な三角関係…!『ブラザー・トラップ』1月24日(火)深夜0時58分スタート【TBS】
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久間田琳加主演!一途で繊細な三角関係…!『ブラザー・トラップ』1月24日(火)深夜0時58分スタート【TBS】

Video credit: TBS

Available on: TVer
Airs: 24th January 2023


19. 3000 Yen: How To Enrich Life


Japanese drama 2023 - 3000 Yen How To Enrich Life Image credit: Tokai TV

How would you spend ¥3,000 (~USD2.33)? Despite being taught by her thrifty grandmother, who espouses that one’s life will change depending on how they spend the sum, Miho has no interest in saving money. After an incident, she reassesses her priorities and starts being frugal. 

3000 Yen: How To Enrich Life is a multigenerational tale about the women in the Mikuriya family and how they tackle their problems by saving up. 

Watch the trailer here:

土ドラ『三千円の使いかた』第1話 1月7日(土)23時40分放送スタート
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土ドラ『三千円の使いかた』第1話 1月7日(土)23時40分放送スタート

Video credit: Tokai TV

Available on: TVer, Yahoo Japan
Airs: 7th January 2023


20. 6-Second Trajectory: The Melancholy of Fireworks Expert Mochizuki Seitaro


Japanese drama 2023 - 6 Second Trajectory
Image credit: AsianWiki

A heartwarming fantasy series, 6-Second Trajectory: The Melancholy of Fireworks Expert Mochizuki Seitaro revolves around the Mochizuki Fireworks Store, a long-standing fireworks store that has been running for generations. 

Cancelled events during the pandemic have impacted their business. To make matters worse, the 4th generational owner Wataru passed away, leaving his son Seitaro to tend to the ailing business and firework industry alone. Just when all hope seems lost, Hikari, a young lady with fresh ideas, along with the soul of Wataru, magically appears.  

Watch the trailer here:

高橋一生主演「6秒間の軌跡~花火師・望月星太郎の憂鬱」2023年1月14日スタート/毎週土曜よる11時30分 ティザー30秒PR
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高橋一生主演「6秒間の軌跡~花火師・望月星太郎の憂鬱」2023年1月14日スタート/毎週土曜よる11時30分 ティザー30秒PR

Video credit: tvasahi

Available on: TVer
Airs: 14th January 2023


Exciting Japanese dramas to look forward to in 2023


A pet dog that has been reincarnated as a human, a matriarchal society in an alternate Edo period, and a wholesome tale about food and friendship – the line-up of Japanese dramas in 2023 has us fretting over what to watch. It’s a good problem to have, if we’re being honest. 

For more, check out: 


Cover image adapted from: MyDramaList, Natalie and AsianWiki

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