Japanese TV Drama

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Background sound: The Yamanote-sen platform at Shinjuku station, January 1998. See here for more information.

I apologize for the miserable state this page is still in, but I doubt I'll ever find time to work more on it. Thankfully there is now an extremely valuable resource on the web--an extensive data database of drama information. See the links section below. As it is in Japanese, I'll maintain this information in English even though it is just a very small subset of what's available there.

Thanks to Suyama Ikuo and others for helpful information.

Here is a paper on Renzoku Ren'ai Dorama (romantic TV drama series) that I presented at a conference on Japanese Popular Culture in Victoria, BC in April, 1997.  Some notes from the conference are available on the web.

Here is an article about this web site (in Japanese):
Genki o dase, Nihon no "dorama"

Favorite Dorama

My two favorite scenario writers are Matsubara Toshiharu and Kamata Toshio. I used to include Nojima Shinji as well, since his Aishiatterukai! is extremely brilliant, but his first and third dramas are uneven, and everything from Hyakuikkaime no puropozu on (which is also his most popular stuff) I can't stand. Nishiogi Yumie looked like a promising newcomer, although she seems to have hit her peak early with Sweet Home and gone downhill from there.

It's interesting that all these writers are connected. Matsubara took over Kamata's "Kintsuma" series, writing the fourth one while Kamata did "Danjobi". Matsubara later went on to write a series of summer romantic comedies for young people, and Nojima wrote a similar one (but in the Fall), his first drama "Kimi ga uso o tsuita". Nishiogi seemed to be taking over for Nojima at Fuji, but she's been very quiet lately.

My favorite dorama. This order is not absolute.

  1. Danjo shichinin natsu monogatari (Danjobi)
  2. Kinyoubi ni wa hana o katte
  3. Aishiatterukai!
  4. Kekkon shitai otokotachi
  5. Kinyoubi no tsumatachi e II: otokotachi yo. genki kai?
  6. Sweet Home
  7. Long Vacation
  8. Narita Rikon

All names are given Japanese style, family name first. I'm a little sloppy with romanization.

Dorama Mailing List

I used to run a mailing list dedicated to discussion of all aspects of dorama. However my ISP stopped supporting mailing lists, and it has gone away.

Archives (not complete, but rather whatever I was in the mood to save) from the first couple years are still available. They are in gzip tar form. To uncompress, you need gunzip and tar; on Unix type (for example)

    gunzip -c dorama95.tar.gz | tar xvf -
This will create a directory dorama95 with each message being a single file named from 1 to 257. This is mh format and can be read directly with that mail tool.
Mail from March 7, 1995 to January 27, 1996. (257 messages; 180K compressed; 666K uncompressed)
Mail from January 29, 1996 to February 2, 1997. (229 messages; 260K compressed; 928K uncompressed)

Other Dorama Pages

After a long period during which there was almost no information available on the web about dorama, there's now a wealth of great pages. These links are all very old and may no longer work; you'd probably do better using a search engine.  Maybe someday I'll try to update this.


Kennedy's Pages
JoJo's Favorite Japanese Dramas
Long Vacation and other Dramas


Dorama Database
An incredible source of information. Highly recommended!
TV Navi
Long Vacation

See also the Television subsection of the Japan section of my Other Places page.

Kamata Toshio

Renzoku Dorama (partial)

(1983) Kinyoubi no tsumatachi e (TBS)
This is the first drama of the famous "Kintsuma" series.
(1984) Kinyoubi no tsumatachi e II: otokotachi yo. genki kai? (TBS)
(1985) Kinyoubi no tsumatachi e III: koi ni ochite (TBS)
(1986) Danjo shichinin natsu monogatari (TBS, Summer)
I call this drama "Danjobi" for short. Most people would probably abbreviate it as "Danjo natsu".
(1987) Otokotachi ni yoroshiku (TBS)
(1987) Danjo shichinin aki monogatari (TBS, Fall)
(1988) Nyuu Yooku koi monogatari (Fuji)
(1989) Aitakute (NTV)
(1989) Su(?)gishi no serenaade (Fuji)
(1990) Nyuu Yooku koi monogatari II: otoko to onna (Fuji)
(1992?) Jinan jijo hitorikko monogatari (Fuji?)
(1993?) Nemurenai yoru o kazoete (Fuji?)
(1994) Otona no kisu (NTV, Spring?)
(1994) Nijuukyuu-sai no kurisumasu (Fuji, Fall)
(1996) Sono ki ni naru made (TBS, Spring)

Matsubara Toshiharu

Renzoku Dorama (partial)

(1985) Machigai darake no fuufu erabi (Fuji, Spring)
(1986) Kinyoubi ni wa hana o katte (TBS, Fall)
(1988) Kaigan monogatari: mukashi mitai ni (TBS, Spring)
(1988) Dakishimetai! (Fuji, Summer)
(1989) Haato ni hi o tsukete! (Fuji, Spring)
(1990) Sekai de ichiban kimi ga suki! (Fuji, Winter)
(1990) Otokotachi ni tsuite (TBS, Fall)
(1991) Kekkon shitai otokotachi (TBS, Summer)
(1992) Shiawase no ketsuron (Fuji, Winter)
(1993) Aijou Monogatari (Fuji, Spring)
(1993-4) Karin (NHK, October to April)
(1995) Kinou no teki wa kyou mo teki (TBS, Spring)

Matsubara seems to have slowed down, and hasn't written a renzoku dorama since 1995.

Other Writers

The following are writers who have done at least one drama I've liked. With the exception of Nojima and Nishiogi, I haven't kept track of them very carefully so there may be a lot missing.

Nojima Shinji

Renzoku Dorama (complete)

(1988) Kimi ga uso o tsuita (Fuji, Fall)
(1989) Aishiatterukai! (Fuji, Fall)
(1990) Sutekina kataomoi (Fuji, Fall)
(1991?) Hyakuikkaime no puropozu (Fuji)
(1992?) Ai to iu na no moto ni (Fuji)
(1993?) Koukou kyoushi (TBS)
(1993?) Hitotsu yane no shita (Fuji)
(1994) Kono yo no hate (Fuji)
(1994) Ningen shikkaku (TBS?, Spring?)
(1995) Miseinen (TBS, Fall)
(1997) Hitotsu yane no shita 2 (Fuji, Spring)
(1998) Seija no koushin [When the Saints Go Marching In] (TBS, Winter)

Nojima also produced "Ie naki ko 2" for NTV in Spring 1995.

Nishiogi Yumie

Renzoku Dorama (complete)

(1993) Double Kitchen (TBS)
(1994) Sweet Home (TBS, Winter)
(1994) Good Mourning (Fuji, Summer)
(1995) Bokura ni ai o! (Fuji, Spring)
(1996) Campus Note (TBS, Winter)
(1997) Singles (Fuji, Fall)

Kitagawa Eriko

Renzoku Dorama (partial)

(1992) Sugao no mama de (Fuji, Spring)
(1993) Chance! (Fuji, Spring)
Co-written with others.
(1993) Asunaro hakusho (Fuji, Fall)
(1995) Aishiteiru to itte kure (TBS, Summer)
(1996) Long Vacation (Fuji, Spring)
(1997) Saigo no koi (TBS, Spring)

Komatsu Eriko

Renzoku Dorama (partial)

(1990) Sotsugyou (TBS, Winter)
(1992) Tokyo Elevator Girl (TBS, Winter)
(1995) Second Chance (TBS, Spring)
(1996) Wakaba no koro (TBS, Spring)
(1997) Tomodachi no koibito (TBS, Spring)
(1998) Ao no jidai (TBS, Summer)


I usually watch a drama based on the writer, recommendations, and occasionally the cast. However recently a director has emerged who's work is so interesting that it's worth watching his dramas just for the direction! Don't confuse him with the singer of the same name. He hasn't necessarily directed every episode of each drama; for the ones I know I've listed which episodes are his.

This is just a list of his most recent dramas, and renzoku only. See the drama database for more information.

Suzuki Masayuki

(1993) Chance! (Fuji, Spring)
Episodes 4, 6, 8 and 11.
(1994) 17sai (Fuji, Spring)
(1994) 29sai no kurisumasu (Fuji, Fall)
(1995) Oosama no resutoran (Fuji, Spring)
(1995) Mada koi wa hajimaranai (Fuji, Fall)
(1996) Long Vacation (Fuji, Spring)
Episodes 4 and 5.
(1996) Konna watashi ni dare ga shita (Fuji, Fall)
Episodes 1, 2, 5, 9 and 10.
(1997) Souri to yobanai de (Fuji, Spring)
Episodes 3, 6, 7, 9 and 10.
(1997) Narita rikon (Fuji, Fall)
Episodes 1, 2, 5, 8 and 10.
(1998) Shomu ni (Fuji, Spring)
Episodes 1, 2, 8 and 11 and 12?
(1998) Sekai de ichiban papa ga suki (Fuji, Summer)

This page is maintained by John Leo.