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13 Thrilling Japanese Dramas That'll Have You Binge-Watching To Find Out What Happens Next

Confirm cannot stop at just one episode!

Cover image via Rotten Tomatoes & dramamochi

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1. Your Turn To Kill

Image via Medium

When mystery-loving newlyweds Nana and Shota move into a new apartment, things quickly take a dark turn as they're drawn into a murder swap game with real-life stakes and consequences.

Episode count: 20

Main cast: Tomoyo Harada, Kei Tanaka, Nanase Nishino, Ryusei Yokohama

Watch it if you like:
- Thrillers
- Mystery
- Suspense
- Crime and crime solving
- Whodunnit mysteries

2. Alice In Borderland

Image via Rotten Tomatoes

An unemployed gamer and his friends find themselves mysteriously trapped in a strange, abandoned version of Tokyo, where they must compete in dangerous games to ensure their survival.

Episode count: 8

Main cast: Kento Yamazaki and Tao Tsuchiya

Watch it if you like:
- Thrillers
- Mystery
- Suspense
- Survival
- Games
- Dystopian themes
- Shows like Squid Game and Battle Royale

3. The Journalist

Image via The Japan Times

As a journalist for the Toto Newspaper, Anna Matsuda is known as the maverick of news media, dedicated to getting to the bottom of every story. Confronted with political crimes and scandals, she makes it her mission to expose the truth, despite powerful enemies trying to stop her.

Episode count: 6

Main cast: Ryoko Yonekura, Go Ayano, Ryusei Yokohama

Watch it if you like:
- Mystery
- Thriller
- Drama
- Political themes
- Investigation
- Journalism

4. Signal

Image via IMDb

A remake of a K-drama of the same name, Signal tells the story of two detectives in different points of time who work together to solve a cold case. Connected by a walkie-talkie that allows them to communicate, one detective works the case 15 years ago, while the other investigates in the present day.

Episode count: 10

Main cast: Kentaro Sakaguchi, Michiko Kichise, Kazuki Kitamura

Watch it if you like:
- Thrillers
- Mystery
- Suspense
- Police dramas
- Crime and crime solving
- Time travel
- Action
- Signal, the K-drama that this J-drama is a remake of

5. Liar Game

Image via dramamochi

Nao, a trusting and gullible college student, finds herself inadvertently participating in a mysterious tournament where players have to lie, trick, and cheat each other in order to win large sums of money. Should one lose the game, they'll find themselves in debt for life. Terrified and desperate, Nao turns to genius con artist Akiyama for help.

Episode count: 11

Main cast:
Erika Toda and Shota Matsuda

Watch it if you like:
- Thrillers
- Mystery
- Suspense
- Games
- Strategy
- Psychological tactics and manipulation
- Drama

6. Love You As The World Ends

Image via MyDramaList

On the day that Hibiki Mamiya planned to propose to his longtime girlfriend, he ends up trapped in a tunnel. Four days later, he barely makes it out alive, only to find that the world has been invaded by the living dead. Fighting to survive, he frantically tries to reunite with his girlfriend.

Episode count: 16

Main cast: Ryoma Takeuchi and Ayami Nakajo

Watch it if you like:
- Thrillers
- Suspense
- Survival
- Romance
- Zombies
- Action

7. How To Eliminate My Teacher

Image via FlixWatch

At a prestigious school in Tokyo, the high-achieving students of class 3-D find amusement by driving their teachers to the edge and making them suffer, all while enjoying their anguish. But when their new homeroom teacher seems oblivious to their relentless attacks, the students start devising a plan to murder him.

Episode count: 8

Main cast: Kei Tanaka, Yuki Yamada, Fumiya Takahashi, Sayu Kubota, Kokoro Morita, Nao Takahashi

Watch it if you like:
- Thrillers
- Suspense
- Psychological elements
- School settings
- Supernatural elements

8. Maou

Image via MyDramaList

In this remake of a popular K-drama, a two-faced lawyer unfurls his meticulous plan to get the perfect revenge on those responsible for his younger brother's death. His quest for vengeance will bring him into contact with a driven detective who has a dark past of his own, and a woman with a strange ability.

Episode count: 11

Main cast:
Satoshi Ohno, Toma Ikuta, Ryoko Kobayashi

Watch it if you like:
- Thrillers
- Mystery
- Suspense
- Legal dramas
- Police dramas
- Crime and crime solving
- Supernatural elements
- The Devil, the K-drama that this J-drama is a remake of

9. Japan Sinks: People Of Hope

Image via MyDramaList

In 2023, during the World Environment Conference, the Japanese prime minister pushes for the use of COMS, a method to liquify pollutants and store it in the crack of the sea floor. However, a journalist publishes an article warning that the Kanto region will sink into the sea, sparking protests. Thus begins a tangled web of corruption and panic, with the truth hidden somewhere in between.

Episode count: 10

Main cast:
Shun Oguri, Kenichi Matsuyama, Anne Watanabe, Toru Nakamura, Teruyuki Kagawa

Watch it if you like:
- Drama
- Suspense
- Politics
- Environmental issues
- Sci-Fi

10. Mr. Hiiragi's Homeroom

Image via MyDramaList

Just 10 days before graduation, an unassuming high school teacher takes all 29 students of his class hostage. His aim? To discover the truth behind a tragic incident that took place a few months ago — a fellow classmate's suicide.

Episode count: 10

Main cast: Masaki Suda and Mei Nagano

Watch it if you like:
- Thrillers
- Mystery
- Suspense
- Social media
- Crime and crime solving
- School settings
- Drama
- Psychological elements

11. Tokyo Dogs

Image via MyDramaList

An elite, cool-headed, and disciplined cop from the New York Police Department gets sent to Tokyo for a joint investigation, where he gets teamed up with a hot-headed former delinquent turned police officer. These two complete opposites will have to somehow find a way to work together in order to crack a case involving a woman with amnesia, who may know some dangerous secrets.

Episode count: 10

Main cast: Shun Oguri, Hiro Mizushima, Yuriko Yoshitaka

Watch it if you like:
- Thrillers
- Mystery
- Suspense
- Action
- Police dramas

12. And Then There Were None

Image via Agatha Christie

Based on the Agatha Christie novel of the same name, this drama depicts a mysterious incident which takes place at a hotel on a remote island. 10 people are invited to the hotel, only to find that the person who invited them is nowhere to be found when they arrive. Soon, they start being killed off one by one. Several days later, the police arrive on the scene and must try to figure out what happened.

Episode count: 2

Main cast: Yukie Nakama, Osamu Mukai, Toshiro Yanagiba, Mao Daichi, Jun Kunimura

Watch it if you like:
- Thrillers
- Mystery and suspense
- Crime and crime solving
- The And Then There Were None novel by Agatha Christie
- Whodunnit mysteries

13. Ship Of Theseus

Image via Love Thy Drama

When his father is arrested for murder, the lives of Shin and his family are changed forever, as they face public criticism and have to live in hiding. One day, Shin suddenly gets transported back in time to right before the murder took place. Believing in his father's innocence, he sets out to find the truth and change the past.

Episode count: 10

Main cast: Ryoma Takeuchi

Watch it if you like:
- Thrillers
- Mystery
- Suspense
- Crime and crime solving
- Time travel
- Drama

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