Watching Japanese dramas is a pretty great and fun way to learn Japanese.
Japanese dramas are interesting, entertaining, and addicting. You learn natural, conversational Japanese that you might not be able to learn from your Japanese courses. On top of that, you also learn about the culture of Japan, and you can connect with your friends from Japan on a deeper level.
Learn Japanese with 3 Japanese Dramas
Here is a list of dramas I've selected based on my personal preference. You can explore and make your list. It can be a drama starred by your favorite actor/actress, or a genre that you like. Before you create your own list, why don't you take a look at my selection of 3 Japanese dramas and get started now?
1.半沢直樹 (Hanzawa Naoki)
"When someone screws you over, pay them back double!"
This two-season corporate drama talks about the story of a banker named Hanzawa Naoki, who has been working for the same bank for two decades and is now the chief of the loans section.
In the first season, Hanzawa takes the blame for a bad loan of ¥500 million to Nishi Osaka Steel for his branch manager. Throughout the investigation, Hanzawa finds out that the entire scheme was set up by his branch manager and the president of Nishi Osaka Steel. After he recovers ¥500 million, Hanzawa is promoted to Deputy Manager of the 2nd Operations Department at the Tokyo Headquarters. The second season talks about Hanzawa's life in Tokyo, and once again, he saves the bank and discovers how his boss is corrupting with different businesses.
When Hanzawa Naoki aired 5 years ago in Japan, nearly half of the Japanese population was watching this drama. Why? It's because everyone could relate to Hanzawa's story. It's a good drama to watch if you are learning Japanese or want to work in Japan someday. In this drama, you get to see how the Japanese working culture is and possibly relate to it.
2.ドクターX〜外科医・大門未知子〜 (Doctor X)
"I will never fail."
The protagonist of the show, Daimon Michiko, is a highly skilled freelance surgeon who works at various hospitals in Japan. Unlike any typical doctors or surgeons, she gets off work at 5 pm. She doesn't work overtime, if she has to, she asks for extra pay. Daimon can't be bothered with the rules and hierarchy system in the medical world that's tainted with money and greed. All she cares about is her patients.
Daimon always takes on high-risk surgeries that other surgeons are not willing to. Saving patients' lives comes before anything else, and nothing can change her belief. This belief puts her into countless conflicts with other surgeons and the management teams at different hospitals.
3. アンナチュラル (Unnatural)
If you enjoy watching dramas like CSI or NCIS, this Japanese drama is for you. Unnatural is a Japanese crime drama that follows experienced pathologists at UDI (Unnatural Death Investigation) Lab. Every day, the employees of the lab try their best to make sense of death and find out the truth behind the events.
Crime shows often give out a serious impression, and Unnatural is no exception. But the writer of the drama added some sense of humor in the script. Once you get to know each character better, you'll start picking up the drops of humor in their words.
Like all Japanese dramas, Unnatural is also filmed in Japan, which means you get to see the daily life of a Japanese household and other aspects of Japanese culture even when you're not in Japan.
How to Learn Japanese by Watching Dramas?
You can't expect to learn the vocabulary just by sitting and watching the dramas. You need to watch them actively!
If you hear unfamiliar words, you need to write them down and look them up afterward. What's better is that you start using those words when you speak Japanese. Put a bit more effort in when you watch Japanese dramas next time and learn Japanese as effectively as possible.
How Do You Learn Japanese with Dramas as a Beginner?
Learning a foreign language by watching movies or shows made in that language is fun. But learning Japanese with dramas can be a bit more challenging for beginners. Why? If you are a beginner, there's a great chance that you're not familiar with the kanji, which will make the drama-watching process less entertaining.
That being said, if you are already watching many Japanese dramas, it won't hurt to try to learn Japanese by watching shows as a beginner. Increase the language exposure by watching Japanese dramas, and train your listening and speaking in the most natural way with Glossika. Our spaced repetition training builds up your understanding of a language by familiarizing you with Japanese kanji and its grammar foundation little by little with various sentence structures and patterns.
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