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23 New Japanese Dramas In 2021 That All Drama Enthusiasts Should Keep A Lookout For

New Japanese dramas in 2021

2020 was a year many couldn’t wait to bid farewell to. But despite delays, there were many anime and dramas that accompanied us through the year and made 2020 better. In 2021, there’s even more to look out for. Here’s a list of 23 new Japanese dramas airing in 2021 that you can look forward to. The list will be updated periodically.

1. Shitteru Wife 知ってるワイフ

new japanese dramas 2021 - shitteru wife
Image credit: AsianWiki

Main cast:

  • Tadayoshi Okura as Motoharu Kenzaki 
  • Alice Hirose as Mio Kenzaki 
  • Miori Takimoto as Sayaka Egawa 

Shitteru Wife is a Japanese remake of Korea’s tvN 2018 romance drama, Familiar Wife. The series follows the story of Kenzaki Motoharu, who works at a bank. He’s been married to his wife, Mio, for 5 years but she often yells at him. At work, he’s also constantly stressed by his boss. 

One day, he receives a ¥500 coin from a man. The coin transports him to the past and he finds himself married to a university schoolmate, Egawa Sayaka, instead of Mio.

Genre: Comedy, Romance, Slice of life, Fantasy
Airs: 7th January 2021

2. EdoMoiselle 江戸モアゼル〜令和で恋、いたしんす

new japanese dramas 2021 - edomoiselle
Image credit: AsianWiki

Main cast:

  • Yui Okada as Senka
  • Shono Hayama as Shunsuke Kuraji
  • Naoki Tanaka as Takehiko Kuraji

EdoMoiselle follows the story of Senka as she navigates present-day Tokyo after travelling through time from the Edo period. She appears at a cafe where Shunsuke Kuraji works part-time and stuns him with her traditional oiran (花魁; high ranking courtesan) garb. Not knowing what to do, Shunsuke brings Senka home to his uncle’s house.

Shunsuke tries to find out more about Senka and how he can help her return to the Edo period. Meanwhile, Senka works at the cafe part-time and intrigues others with her appearance and behaviour.

Genre: Historical, Romance, Fantasy
Airs: 7th January 2021

3. 20 Conditions to Date with an App アプリで恋する20の条件

new japanese dramas 2021 - 20 conditions to date with an app
Image credit: @appkoi_ntv

Main cast:

  • Tsubasa Honda as Taeko Kase
  • Yosuke Sugino as Makoto Hasegawa
  • Maika Yamamoto as Mikako Shimada

20 Conditions to Date with an App is centred on 6 characters and their experiences with each other on the dating app.

The main character, the 28-year-old Taeko Kase, works at an events company. One day, her boss reprimands her for making a mistake at work. To make things worse, her boyfriend breaks up with her. At a cafe, a waitstaff recommends a dating app to Taeko. Through the app, Taeko manages to secure a date with Makoto Hasegawa, a good-looking but aloof man.

Genre: Comedy, Romance, Drama
Airs: 7th January 2021

4. Muchuu-sa, Kimi ni 夢中さ、きみに。

new japanese dramas 2021 - muchuu-sa, kimi ni
Image credit: MyDramaList

Main cast:

  • Onishi Ryusei as Hayashi Miyoshi
  • Takahashi Fumiya as Nikaido Akira

Muchuu-sa, Kimi ni is a story about Hayashi Miyoshi, a mysterious high school student who enjoys doing things that seem peculiar to others, such as wearing his uniform with his blazer tucked into his pants

He occasionally spends time helping out at his parents’ Chinese restaurant. This earns him enough money to get by and live by his life motto, “It’s comfortable to have enough free time to waste.” 

Despite his peculiar motivations and personality, he’s oddly attractive to others.

Genre: School, Comedy, Slice of life
Airs: 8th January 2021

5. Oh! My Boss! Love Is A Bonus Book オー!マイ・ボス!恋は別冊で

new japanese dramas 2021 - oh! my boss! love is a bonus book
Image credit: AsianWiki

Main cast:

  • Mone Kamishiraishi as Nami Suzuki
  • Nanao as Reiko Horai
  • Yuta Tamamori as Junnosuke

Oh! My Boss! Love Is A Bonus Book centres on Nami Suzuki, who was born in a small town. She doesn’t have big dreams and is content to live simply. Her job search brings her to Tokyo, where she secures a job in the editorial department of a fashion magazine in a large publishing company. Although this isn’t the job she wanted, she reports for work anyway.

At work, she meets chief editor Reiko Horai, who is a seemingly cold and callous lady and often berates Nami for not taking her job seriously. As Nami continues to work under Reiko, her attitude towards work gradually begins to change.

Genre: Comedy, Romance, Drama
Airs: 12th January 2021

6. School Police 青のSP(スクールポリス)—学校内警察・嶋田隆平—

new japanese dramas 2021 - school police
Image credit: AsianWiki

Main cast:

  • Tatsuya Fujiwara as Ryuhei Shimada
  • Yoko Maki as Ryoko Asamura

Ryuhei Shimada joins Akamine Middle School under a new Tokyo government initiative to introduce a police system in schools. He used to be a talented detective at the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department but volunteered for the role of a school police.

At Akamine Middle School, Ryuhei finds that there are many problems, such as drug use, bullying, and harassment. He stands his ground and arrests whoever breaks the law, be it a teacher or student.

Genre: Comedy, Crime, School
Airs: 12th January 2021

7. Cinderella is Online シンデレラはオンライン中

new japanese dramas 2021 - cinderella is online
Image credit: Fuji TV

Main cast:

  • Nakamura Riho as Arisawa Ichika
  • Seto Toshiki as Onoda Asahi

Cinderella is Online is a Japanese remake of a popular Chinese drama, Love O2O

Arisawa Ichika is a college student who is uninterested in dating, but she’s crazy over an online game, Tenkyo. Her avatar, Vivi, is in a virtual relationship with the top player, Leon. Upon meeting Leon in real life, Arisawa realises that he’s the campus prince, Onoda.

Arisawa and Onoda fall in love and start dating even though they’re often confused between the virtual world and the real world. Things get complicated when others around them think that Arisawa isn’t good enough for Onoda. They try to break them up by attacking Arisawa and getting girls to confess to Onoda.

Genre: Romance, School, Fantasy, Drama
Airs: 12th January 2021

8. Date My Daughter! ウチの娘は、彼氏が出来ない!!

new japanese dramas 2021 - date my daughter!
Image credit: AsianWiki

Main cast:

  • Miho Kanno as Aoi Minase
  • Minami Hamabe as Sora Minase
  • Kenshi Okada as Hikaru Irino

40-year-old Aoi Minase is a single mother who is a popular writer of romance novels. Her daughter, Sora Minase, turns 20 years old and doesn’t have a boyfriend, so Aoi is concerned about her love life. 

Aoi believes that Sora doesn’t have a boyfriend because she’s an otaku who enjoys manga and cosplay. But little does she know that Sora does want to fall in love. At the same time, Sora is also concerned about her mother’s love life. Together, they decide to embark on a journey to find love and happiness.

Genre: Romance, Drama, Family
Airs: 13th January 2021

9. Pension Metsa ペンションメッツァ

new japanese dramas 2021 - pension metsa
Image adapted from: @drama_wowow

Main cast:

  • Satomi Kobayashi as Tenko
  • Koji Yakusho as Tsuneki
  • Takashi Yamanaka as Yamabiko

Pension Metsa revolves around Tenko, a lady who runs a pension located in a forest in Nagano. Each episode features a new guest at the pension. The interactions between Tenko and her guests unravel throughout each episode. 

Genre: Drama, Slice of life
Airs: 15th January 2021

10. Can’t Write!? 書けないッ!?〜脚本家 吉丸圭佑の筋書きのない生活〜

new japanese dramas 2021 - can't write!?
Image credit: TV Asahi

Main cast:

  • Toma Ikuta as Keisuke Yoshimaru
  • Michiko Kichise as Nami Yoshimaru
  • Anna Yamada as Erika Yoshimaru

Keisuke Yoshimaru is married to best-selling author Nami Yoshimaru. Keisuke won a screenwriting contest back when he was 32 years old but it has been 5 years since and he still hasn’t secured any projects to work on. He ends up taking care of the household and the kids in order to support his wife’s writing. 

Keisuke’s big break comes when, one day, he is asked to be the screenwriter of a prime-time drama series.

Genre: Family, Romance, Drama, Comedy
Airs: 16th January 2021

11. From Now On We Begin Ethics ここは今から倫理です

new japanese dramas 2021 - from now on we begin ethics
Image credit: AsianWiki

Main cast:

  • Yuki Yamada as Takayanagi
  • Yuta Ikeda as Kyoichi Taniguchi 
  • Mizuki Kayashima as Ichiko Aizawa

From Now On We Begin Ethics revolves around Takayanagi, an ethics teacher who uses ethics to advise his students on how to solve their personal problems. Although his students look innocent, some of them are victims of bullying or self-harm.

This series is adapted from the popular manga, Koko wa Ima kara Rinri desu, released in 2016. The manga also had a television anime adaptation that same year.

Genre: Psychological, School, Drama, Slice of life
Airs: 16th January 2021

12. Heaven and Hell: 2 Psycho People 天国と地獄 ~サイコな2人~

new japanese dramas 2021 - heaven and hell: 2 psycho people
Image credit: AsianWiki

Main cast:

  • Haruka Ayase as Ayako Mochizuki
  • Issey Takahashi as Haruto Hidaka

Heaven and Hell: 2 Psycho People tells the story of Ayako Mochizuki and Haruto Hidaka, whose bodies are switched. The situation is made even more complicated because Ayako is a detective and Haruto is the murder suspect she is seeking to nab. Haruto is a smart chemistry researcher who runs his own company, but he’s also a psychopath murderer.

The story unfolds as Ayako and Haruto switch bodies right before Ayako arrests Haruto.

Genre: Investigation, Suspense, Fantasy
Airs: 17th January 2021

13. Love You as the World Ends 君と世界が終わる日に

new japanese dramas 2021 - love you as the world ends
Image credit: AsianWiki

Main cast:

  • Ryoma Takeuchi as Hibiki Mamiya
  • Ayami Nakajo as Kurumi Ogasawara

Love You as the World Ends is set in Miura City, Kanagawa, where car mechanic Hibiki Mamiya and his high school sweetheart, Kurumi Ogasawara, live their regular lives. As they’ve been dating since high school, Hibiki plans to propose to Kurumi. But he doesn’t get the chance to do so when he gets into an accident at work and is trapped in a tunnel.

A few days later, he finally escapes, only to find an empty and abandoned Miura City. His girlfriend has also disappeared. Soon, he realises that the city is no longer safe – it’s been infested with human-eating zombies. 

Love You as the World Ends is set to have a 2nd season airing in March 2021.

Genre: Romance, Zombie, Suspense
Airs: 17th January 2021

14. Nijiiro Karute にじいろカルテ

new japanese dramas 2021 - nijiiro karute
Image credit: AsianWiki

Main cast:

  • Mitsuki Takahata as Masora Kureno
  • Takumi Kitamura as Taiyo Aoyama
  • Arata Iura as Saku Asagi

Nijiiro Karute tells the story of Masora Kureno, a young doctor working at a large hospital in Tokyo. After being diagnosed with a serious illness, she decides to quit her job at the large hospital. But she still wants to work as a doctor, so she moves to a small village called Niji no Mura and works at a clinic there while hiding her illness.

At the village, she meets villagers from all walks of life who encourage her to live her life enthusiastically.

Genre: Medical, Drama
Airs: 21st January 2021

15. Mokomi: She’s A Little Weird モコミ〜彼女ちょっとヘンだけど〜

new japanese dramas 2021 - mokomi: she's a little weird
Image credit: DramaWiki

Main cast:

  • Fuka Koshiba as Mokomi Shimizu
  • Asuka Kudo as Shinsuke Shimizu 
  • Seishiro Kato as Yuya Kishida 

Mokomi: She’s A Little Weird revolves around Mokomi Shimizu, a girl with the special ability to understand the feelings of inanimate objects, such as soft toys and plants. Because of her special ability, she lives in her own imaginary world, affecting her interactions with those around her and causing her to drop out of school. 

She ends up working part-time at a small factory, picking out defective items. Even at the factory, she talks to things as if they were alive. On her 22nd birthday, she decides not to go to work at the factory. That evening, she gets a special visitor.

Genre: Family, Drama, Fantasy
Airs: 23rd January 2021

16. Red Eyes レッドアイズ 監視捜査班

new japanese dramas 2021 - red eyes
Image credit: AsianWiki

Main cast:

  • Kazuya Kamenashi as Kyosuke Fushimi
  • Nao Matsushita as Yuri Shimabara 
  • Kavka Shishido as Yumiko Minatogawa 
  • Shuri as Fumika Nagashino 

Red Eyes is about a team of detectives under the Kanagawa Prefectural Police Department Investigation Analysis Center (KSBC). Kyosuke Fushimi leaves the police force after his wife is killed and sets up his own detective agency. 

One day, Kyosuke’s former boss from the police force recruits him into the KSBC. He agrees, on the condition that his colleagues join too.

Although his colleagues are ex-criminals, they each have a special skill. Together with Kyosuke, they join KSBC and solve difficult crimes using data from KSBC’s state-of-the-art surveillance system. At the same time, Kyosuke also investigates his wife’s unsolved murder.

Genre: Suspense, Crime, Investigation
Airs: 23rd January 2021

17. Mairunovich マイルノビッチ

new japanese dramas 2021 - mairunovich
Image adapted from: MyDramaList

Main cast:

  • Sakurai Hinako as Kinoshita Mairu
  • Kamio Fuju as Kumada Tenyu

A live-action drama adaptation of the manga of the same name, Mairunovich is about the transformation of Kinoshita Mairu, an unpopular and plain high school student. She is often bullied in school because of her dorky hairstyle and thick glasses.

Things change when Kumada Tenyu, the most handsome boy in school, transforms her into a cute girl who turns heads in school.

Genre: Romance, School, Youth
Airs: 12th February 2021

18. Seiten wo Tsuke 青天を衝け

new japanese dramas 2021 - seiten wo tsuke
Image credit: AsianWiki

Main cast:

  • Ryo Yoshizawa as Eiichi Shibusawa
  • Kaoru Kobayashi as Ichiroemon Shibusawa
  • Emi Wakui as Ei Shibusawa

Seiten wo Tsuke tells the story of Eiichi Shibusawa, who was born to a farmer’s family. At the age of 23, Eiichi leaves his hometown to work for the government. After travelling to Paris and learning about banking, he returns to Japan and establishes the first modern bank in the country. 

The series is based on the biography of Eiichi Shibusawa, a Japanese industrialist nicknamed the “father of Japanese capitalism”. Eiichi Shibusawa will be the face on the new ¥10,000 notes, which will be in use from 2024 onwards.

Genre: Historical, Drama
Airs: 14th February 2021

19. Horimiya ホリミヤ

new japanese dramas 2021 - horimiya
Image credit: MyDramaList

Main cast:

  • Oji Suzuka as Izumi Miyamura 
  • Sayu Kubota as Kyoko Hori 

Horimiya is a live-action drama adaptation of the popular manga of the same name. There will also be a live-action movie based on the manga, released on 5th February 2021, before the television broadcast of the drama.

Izumi Miyamura is a quiet and neat boy who doesn’t have many friends. On the contrary, Kyoko Hori is a popular girl who is admired for having excellent grades. They both have secrets that they hide from everyone else. As they cross paths outside of school, they become friends and share a side of themselves that no one else in school knows of.

Genre: School, Romance, Drama
Airs: 16th February 2021

20. A Bad Boy Drinks Tea お茶にごす

new japanese dramas 2021 - a bad boy drinks tea
Image credit: AsianWiki

Main cast:

  • Nobuyuki Suzuki as Masaya Funabashi
  • Toshiki Seto as Wataru Yamada
  • Minori Hagiwara as Kaho Asakawa
  • Rinka Kumada as Naomi Anesaki

A Bad Boy Drinks Tea is a live-action adaptation of the manga, Ocha ni Gosu, by Hiroyuki Nishimori. The series centres on Masaya Funabashi, a middle school student who has an intimidating appearance and is known for being able to fight well. He is even nicknamed “Devil”.

However, after he enters high school, Masaya decides to stop fighting and live a peaceful life. But because of his nickname, people avoid him in school. He ends up joining the school’s tea ceremony club and slowly changes thanks to the club members, Wataru Yamada and Kaho Asakawa.

Genre: School, Comedy, Youth, Romance
Airs: 5th March 2021

21. Ichikei’s Crow イチケイのカラス

new japanese dramas 2021 - ichikei's crow
Image credit: AsianWiki

Main cast:

  • Yutaka Takenouchi as Michio Iruma
  • Haru Kuroki as Chizuru Sakama

Ichikei’s Crow is based on the manga series, Ichikei no Karasu. Rather than focusing on lawyers and prosecutors, as other Japanese dramas do, the main character of the series is a judge. 

Michio Iruma is a former lawyer who is now a judge in the Tokyo District Court’s 1st Criminal Division. He isn’t an ordinary judge as he investigates cases personally, making him a force to be reckoned with among lawyers and prosecutors. Fellow judges also consider him a troublemaker. As time passes, Michio’s unknown past is slowly revealed.

Genre: Law, Drama
Airs: April 2021

22. The Grand Family 華麗なる一族

new japanese dramas 2021 - the grand family
Image credit: AsianWiki

Main cast:

  • Kiichi Nakai as Daisuke Manpyo
  • Osamu Mukai as Teppei Manpyo
  • Taisuke Fujigaya as Ginpei Manpyo

Daisuke Manpyo is a successful businessman and the president of Hanshin Bank. He gets wind of a move to reorganise commercial banks. So, he attempts to prevent any potential merger of Hanshin Bank with another bank in order to protect himself.

The Grand Family is not to be confused with the 2007 television drama of the same name, which featured Takuya Kimura as the main character, Teppei Manpyo. This 2021 series is centred on Daisuke Manpyo, Teppei’s father, and is a faithful adaptation of the novel Karei Naru Ichizoku.

Genre: Family, Drama
Airs: 18th April 2021

23. Welcome Back, Mone おかえりモネ

new japanese dramas 2021 - welcome back, mone
Image credit: NHK

Main cast:

  • Kaya Kiyohara as Momone Nagaura
  • Seiyo Uchino as Koji Nagaura
  • Kyoka Suzuki as Ayako Nagaura

Welcome Back, Mone is set in Kesennuma Bay, Miyagi Prefecture. The main character, Momone Nagaura, graduates from high school but doesn’t secure a spot in a university. She moves to the city of Tome and works as the apprentice of a forest guide.

As an apprentice, she meets a popular weather forecaster from Tokyo, who tells her that weather forecasters can predict the future. She’s intrigued and decides to become a weather forecaster. After studying hard, she succeeds. When a major typhoon approaches Japan, she returns to her hometown of Kesennuma Bay to help.

Welcome Back, Mone is an asadora (朝ドラ), a type of morning drama broadcasted by NHK, a Japanese public broadcaster. Asadora typically air on weekday mornings, from 8.00AM-8.15AM.

Genre: Drama, School, Fantasy
Airs: Spring 2021

New Japanese dramas airing in 2021

Whether you’re a fan of comedies or suspense dramas, keep an eye out for these new Japanese dramas airing in 2021. Some of these dramas are already airing so you can start watching them.

Check out these articles for more things to watch:

Cover image adapted from (clockwise from top left): PR Times, @appkoi_ntv, MyDramaList, and AsianWiki