Four Japanese Dramas That You Should Watch If You’re a New Japanese Drama Viewer!
Gokusen has three seasons and one movie. It is a school comedy kind of Japanese drama. All the series and the movie stars Nakama Yukie as the tough teacher and yakuza named Yamaguchi Kumiko or Yankumi. Veteran actors Namase Katsuhisa and Utsui Ken are also part of the show.
The first season stars ARASHI’s Matsumoto Jun, Oguri Shun, Waki Tomohiro, Narimiya Hiroki, Ishigaki Yuma, etc. While, the second season stars popular Johnny’s idols Kamenashi Kazuya and Akanishi Jin of KAT-TUN, Hayami Mokomichi, Koike Teppei, Koide Keisuke, etc. Meanwhile, the third season stars Hey! Say! JUMP’s Takaki Yuya, Miura Haruma, Ishiguro Hideo, Nakama Junta, Kiriyama Akito, Miura Shohei, etc.
The main plot of the drama revolves around the relationship between Yankumi and her students. Each episode shows struggle of her students and how does Yankumi affect her students through her personal teaching skills.
In season 1, Yankumi is a yakuza who does not want to succeed her grandfather in the yakuza business but instead, she chooses to be a teacher for highschool students. Yankumi is also a tough teacher and she is also in charged of the tough students in her school; the students of 3-D class. The students have no respect for their teacher. Sawada Shin (played by Matsumoto Jun) is the leader of the class. He is a lazy yet a bright student. He shows interest for Yankumi when he realizes she’s different from other teachers. The students bully Yankumi to make her quit.
The story of season 2 happens a half year later. The school in season 1, Shirokin Highschool, has already closed down. Due to some unbelievable reasons, she finds herself being a teacher again in a different school; in Kurogin Highschool. Yankumi encounters delinquent students again. She again reaches out to her students through her own style of teaching.
In season 3, Sawatari Goro now works as a vice principal in Akado Highschool. Although he works as a vice principal, he specifically handles the problematic class of 3D in their school. He went to a trip in the South to search for Yankumi. He was able to convince her to become a teacher again but little did Yankumi know that she will again handle a problematic class.
In 2009, a movie was screened for Gokusen. The movie version was set during the following school year of Gokusen season 3. Some actors from the previous seasons also appeared in the movie like Hayami Mokomichi and Koide Keisuke but only Kamenashi Kazuya came back as a teacher-in-training under Yankumi.
Hana Yori Dango
Hana Yori Dango is another Japanese drama that you should watch as a beginner. This is a romance drama that tells about a young girl named Makino Tsukushi who entered into a prestigious highschool and gets bullied because she’s poor. She gets entangled with a group of four rich boys called F4. F4 is composed of Domyouji Tsukasa, the leader and the heir of Domyouji World Finance Group; Hanazawa Rui, the introverted son of a huge company; Nishikado Soujiro, a playboy who is the heir of a tea ceremony school and Mimasaka Akira, a madam killer who has underground ties. Makino only wishes to graduate from highschool without any issues but she gets entangled one day with F4’s Domyouji Tsukasa when she saves her friend. This drama will show you how a tough weed Makino is!
Hana Yori Dango stars ARASHI’s Matsumoto as Domyouji Tsukasa, Inoue Mao as Makino Tsukushi, Oguri Shun as Hanzawa Rui, Matsuda Shota as Nishikado Soujiro and Abe Tsuyoshi as Mimasaka Akira.
This live-action drama series was based on the manga with the same title by Kamio Yoko.
Hanazakari no Kimitachi e 2007
Hanazakari no Kimitachi e is another must watch! Hana Kimi stars popular Japanese actors Oguri Shun and Ikuta Toma and lovely actress Horikita Maki. This is again based on a Japanese comic with the same title by Nakajo Hisaya.
Hanazakari no Kimitachi e or Hana Kimi revolves around the exciting lives of students in Osaka Gakuen. The main protagonist Ashiya Mizuki (played by Horikita Maki) decides to enroll in Osaka Gakuen to help Sano Izumi (played by Oguri Shun) to realize again his dream. Ashiya is actually a girl who enters in an all boys school just for Sano Izumi.
Hana Kimi is an enjoyable drama since each episode can make you laugh so hard!
Just what the title suggests, One Litre of Tears can surely make you cry a bucket of tears. One Litre of Tears is based on the real life story of Ikeuchi Aya who suffers from a disease called spinocerebellar degeneration. Aya is an ordinary student who enjoys her life with her family and friends. One day, she notices that she often falls down and walks strangely. Spinocerebellar Degeneration is a disease wherein the cerebellum of the brain deteriorates that leads to the victim to cannot walk, speak, write or eat. This is a cruel disease where it does not affect the mind in the least.
One Litre of Tears stars Sawajiri Erika as Aya, Nishikido Ryo as Asou Haruto, Yakushimaru Hiroko as Ikeuchi Shioka, Jinnai Takanori as Ikeuchi Mizuo, Narumi Riko as Ikeuchi Ako, Sanada Yuma as Ikeuchi Hiroki, Miyoshi Ai as Ikeuchi Rika.
Each episode will show Aya’s struggle each day. Prepare lots of tissues when you watch this drama!
The writer's personal thoughts about the four dramas mentioned
These are some of the Japanese dramas I fell in love with. There are still so many good classic Japanese dramas out there. I greatly suggest that if you finish watching all of these is to start exploring more. Japanese dramas have so many great themes focusing on the family, friendship, kouhai and sempai relationship in school, society and sibling relationship among many others. If you already started with watching, I am very much sure you will crave for more!