Japanese Rom-Coms and Why You Should Give Them a Chance

To most people, the first thing that comes to their mind when I say the words 'Japanese drama' is usually "Ooohh, yeah, they're so weird!", which I admit, some are. But that's the thing. Since most people think all Japanese dramas have over-exaggerated facial expressions and crazy acting, they often overlook a heavily undiscovered part of J-dorama: Japanese Rom Coms. 

Sure, they aren't as ~*magical*~ as a K-drama, with all its fancy filters and "Opppaaaaa~"s, but once you get hooked, there's no turning back. So here are 5 highly recommended J-dorama rom coms for you try (in my opinion, of course). These are the ones I have watched, so other recommendations are welcomed in the comments! 


1. Nigeru Wa Haji da ga Yaku ni Tatsu 

(We Got Married As A Job)

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Cast: Aragaki Yui, Hoshino Gen

Story: "25-year-old Moriyama Mikuri graduated but had no job offers. She became a temporary employee but was even laid off. So while she is taking a break right now, Mikuri feels unwanted and displaced. She starts work as a housekeeper for bachelor Tsuzaki Hiramasa by chance. One day, he proposes a contract marriage to her. The two of them get married in secret, but will their married life work out?"- MDL. 

The show is slow, but the relationship development between the quiet, shy and recluse Tsuzaki and the outgoing and hardworking Mikuri is really sweet. This drama is for all those who like a slow, but pretty G-rated romance. Also! It has an extremely familiar face nearly all J-dorama fans can recognise: Aragaki Yui, who is also the star of our next drama...


2. Zenkai Girl

(Full Throttle Girl) 

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Cast: Aragaki Yui, Nishikido Ryo

Story: Ayukawa Wakaba, a hard working and ambitious young woman, gets a job at a highly reputed law firm. The catch? She must babysit her boss' young 5-year-old daughter, Hinata. As Wakaba navigates the tough world of babysitting, she reluctantly takes help from the father of Hinata's closest friend, Yamada Sota, a stay-at-home dad and the complete opposite of Wakaba. 

There are very few dramas that can make me want to watch it again- this was one of them. There were so many times in this show where the ice-cold block on the left side of my chest felt like melting. Wakaba's childhood, Sota's dream (that he had to give up) and the people around them made this drama extremely lovable! 


3. Dame na Watashi Koishite Kudasai

(Please Love the Useless Me)

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Cast: Fukada Kyoko, Fujioka Dean

Story: After losing her job and her savings almost drained from spending on her much younger boyfriend, 30-year-old Shibata Michiko has no clue what to do- until her scary ex-boss allows her to work for him in his restaurant in exchange for food. 

This drama is absolutely adorable and gave me a few days of drama withdrawal because I couldn't bear to watch any other drama while still thinking of the amazing characters of this one. Everything about this drama hit it juuust right for me, from the acting to the story, to the omurice that Michiko loves. The manga it's adapted from is great, too! 


4. Proposal Daisakusen

(Operation Proposal)

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Cast: Yamashita Tomohisa, Nagasawa Masami

Story: "Iwase Ken and Yoshida Rei have been friends since elementary school. Ken, is obstinate and unskilled in love, but he fell long ago for the lively and cheerful, Rei. But Rei is about to get married to another man. While Ken and other friends from high-school attend the wedding ceremony, a fairy appears and sends Ken back in time, giving him a second chance to win the girl he loves."- MDL

This classic J-Dorama has been remade into 2 very popular Korean and, more recently, Chinese versions, so I won't actually be surprised if you've actually seen the drama itself or one of its remakes. Of course, nothing can beat the original, it's been remade multiple times for a reason! 


5. Boku, Unmei no Hito Desu

(I'm Your Destiny) 

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Cast: Kamenashi Kazuya, Kimura Fumino, Yamashita Tomohisa

Story: What if someone came up to you, told you he was God and that if you don't marry and produce a child with a certain woman by the end of the year, the world would be destroyed? That's exactly the situation Makoto Masaki is forced to face. Unlucky in love, Masaki has been through more heartbreaks and failures than he possibly could face. So when this mysterious man who insists on calling himself God tells him he'll help out in pursuing the woman he must marry, Masaki's first response is to scoff. But after he realises that his path has crossed with this woman multiple times throughout his life, too many to count as a mere coincidence, he becomes convinced that they're destined. Now, all he has to do is convince her, too...

Kamenashi Kazuya and Yamashita Tomohisa are a powerhouse duo in the J-dorama world, having previously acted together in another extremely popular drama, Nobuta wo Produce, and that chemistry and familiarity show in their interactions with each other in this show. While the female lead was also good, the supporting characters are almost blindingly incredible, with how they help the main characters through every hurdle and every problem. 


Special Mention: Pride

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Cast: Kimura Takuya, Takeuchi Yuko

Story: Satonaka Haru, an ice-hockey star and ladies' man, meets Murase Aki, a woman who has been waiting for her boyfriend to return to Japan for the past few years with no contact, and asks if he can be in a relationship with her until her boyfriend returns home. Aki, an ordinary OL (office lady), surprisingly agrees and thus begins their time-bound romance. But what happens when Aki's real boyfriend returns...?

I added this as a special mention because it's not exactly a rom-com, but a romance-drama, but the show is just too incredible to leave out. 

I was initially hesitant about watching this because of the crazy long description I saw of it on MDL and the fact that the only thing I know about ice hockey is that it's on ice, but still deciding to go for it and watch the show is probably one of the best decisions I've taken in my entire life! You don't even need to know anything about ice hockey to enjoy this the show since the plot doesn't revolve around ice hockey as much as the romance between Haru and Aki. 


Honorable Mentions: 

Here are some more dramas that are recommended, in case you want more:

Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge (Perfect Girl Evolution; The Wallflower) [adapted from a manga] 

Hotaru no Hikari (Glow of Fireflies) [adapted from a manga]

5-ji Kara 9-ji Made (From 5 to 9) [adapted from a manga]


Thanks for reading!


Comments (61)

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  • Reply
    MissBuyNLarge 14 days ago

    I've seen Yamato Nadeshiko and Hotaru no Hikari and LOVED both...as a HUGE fan of Yamapi, 9 to 5 is also at the top of my PTW list...though it seems work and the universe are against me having any manner of free time in which to watch it (or anything else for that matter)

  • Reply
    kdramasinpajamas 14 days ago

    Loved Please Love The Useless Me. Going to put some of these others on my Plan to Watch list.

  • Reply
    kailin 15 days ago

    thanks for this article!! I know Japanese romcom drama always get pushed aside because there is 'not enough romance', but actually I feel they are refreshing in a way. Because they seem more sincere about the mutual love between the characters and not mainly about the hot kiss scenes. I really loved Dame na Watashi Koishite Kudasai! And Nigeru Wa Haji da ga Yaku ni Tatsu is a drama I'll definitely check out! it's funny cause I discovered Hoshino Gen's song by chance and it's been my phone ringtone for a while now and after learning that it's from a drama and he's even in it makes it even better!

  • Reply
    dramalatte 15 days ago - edited

    That is good rec list. I haven't seen we got married as a job or please love the useless me. Pride is such good drama. Seriously recommend that one the most. Off the top of my head, i also recommend

    rich man poor woman
    hana yori dango
    last cinderella
    itazura na kiss love in tokyo
    hana kimi
    hotaru no hikari
    yamato nadeshiko shichi henge
    switch girl

  • Reply
    sugasinner 16 days ago

    Thank you for helping me expand my list!

  • Reply
    fatima_july 16 days ago

    thank you for this article, i love Japanese dramas

  • Reply
    DramaGeisha 16 days ago - edited

    Currently watching Boku, Unmei no Hito Desu and I'm so happy to see Yamapi and Kamen together again)

    Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge (watched both Anime and live action and loved both)

    Hotaru no Hikari (Yeaaaaaah <3)

    5-ji Kara 9-ji Made ( Loved it from beginning to the end).

    Would recommend Buzzer Beat and Stand Up!! (Both with Yamapi) its so good :)

    • Reply
      LiteD 16 days ago

      strongly agree with all the above!!!

    • Reply
      kailin 15 days ago

      oh yes me too!I agree too!
      and Kamenashi + Yamapi I loved them in Nobuta wo produce! should be interesting to see them again after so many years. can't believe that was a 2005 drama, I feel like rewatching all the good old stuff that got me into dramaland *_*

  • Reply
    Niemph 16 days ago

    Pride is still my all time favorite JDrama <3

  • Reply
    HAVA-RAVA 17 days ago

    Kimi wa Petto, Anego, Kyou wa Kaisha Yasumimasu and Last Cinderella are one of my all time faves :D

  • Reply
    funfan 17 days ago

    Thanks for the list, I was looking for good j drama, I have watched we got married as job, quite enjoyed it. Started operation proposal k drama but dropped maybe will try j drama, added rest to my plan to watchlist:)

  • Reply
    sagwao_o 17 days ago

    I'm gonna add them in my PTW list right now!

  • Reply
    darkangel662008 18 days ago

    Watched them all :)

  • Reply
    AMIssyow 18 days ago

    They can also try:

    - Hana Kimi 2007 version as I haven't watch the recent version of this.
    - Hana Yori Dango
    - The Memorandum of Kyoko Okitegami
    - Buzzer Beat
    - Nodame Cantabile.

  • Reply
    minhsuga 18 days ago

    From your list, I've only watched Nigehaji and Boku Unmei no Hito Desu and I really enjoyed both. I love how easy they were to watch, and the number of episodes was perfect! Doesn't make them feel too dragged out.

    I'd also recommend Jimi ni Sugoi. It's not as romance focused, but I'd say it's enough to qualify as rom-com. Etsuko is an awesome character and Suda was great as her love interest.

    I've been wanting to watch Please Love the Useless Me, but I've heard mixed reviews. Maybe I'll give it a try anyway because I like the manga.

  • Reply
    lindalinda 18 days ago

    I'll add Date, as Japanese rom-com with eccentric character, so much fun.
    And Hotaru no Hikari, this is a good one with Ayase played a comedic character so well.
    Also, Love Shuffle, this drama is one of the best rom-com.

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