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10 Japanese Shows of 2023 to Elevate Your Vocabulary

In the ever-expanding world of Japanese television, language enthusiasts have a unique opportunity to enhance their vocabulary while immersing themselves in captivating stories. The diverse array of shows available in 2023 offers not only entertainment but also a rich source of language learning. From futuristic science fiction to historical dramas, each series brings a unique set of vocabulary that can help learners broaden their linguistic horizons. Here are ten Japanese shows from 2023 that promise to elevate your Japanese language skills.


Silent Tokyo (Apple TV+)

Japanese learning

"Silent Tokyo," available on Apple TV+, stands out as a unique and immersive experience that can significantly enhance one's Japanese vocabulary. Set in a future Tokyo where the ability to hear has been lost, the show introduces viewers to a wealth of technical vocabulary. As characters navigate this silent world, they engage in conversations filled with terminology related to advanced technologies, scientific innovations, and futuristic concepts. This provides language learners with a specialized lexicon that extends beyond everyday language, offering a deep dive into the intricacies of a technologically advanced society.


Furthermore, "Silent Tokyo" doesn't merely focus on the technical aspects; it also explores emotions and relationships within the context of a silent world. The narrative delves into the characters' struggles and connections, introducing vocabulary associated with the complex nuances of human emotions. Learners can expect to encounter expressions related to empathy, understanding, and interpersonal relationships, adding a layer of depth to their language acquisition. In essence, "Silent Tokyo" provides a well-rounded vocabulary experience, combining technical jargon with emotional nuances, making it an ideal choice for those seeking to expand their Japanese language skills in a futuristic and emotionally rich context.


Elpis: Hope or Lies (KTV)

Japanese learning

"Elpis: Hope or Lies," featured on KTV, emerges as a compelling tool for improving Japanese vocabulary by immersing viewers in the intricate world of politics, journalism, and government cover-ups. The series delves into the investigative journey of a disgraced journalist, presenting a plethora of vocabulary associated with current events and political landscapes. Viewers can expect to encounter terms used in journalistic endeavors, such as reporting, uncovering the truth, and navigating the complexities of a political conspiracy. This exposure to real-world vocabulary not only enriches language skills but also provides valuable insights into the nuances of political discourse in Japanese society.


Moreover, "Elpis" offers a glimpse into the ethical considerations and challenges faced by journalists, further expanding the viewer's lexicon in the realm of journalism. As characters navigate the twists and turns of uncovering hidden truths, learners are exposed to terminology related to investigations, media ethics, and the dynamics between the press and government institutions. The show's thematic depth ensures that language learners not only enhance their linguistic capabilities but also gain a nuanced understanding of the societal and political issues shaping contemporary Japan. In essence, "Elpis: Hope or Lies" serves as a linguistic gateway into the realm of political dramas, equipping viewers with a diverse vocabulary while engaging them in a thought-provoking narrative.


Mairimashita! Iruma-kun (NHK Eテレ)

Japanese alphabet

"Mairimashita! Iruma-kun," airing on NHK Eテレ, offers a delightful and whimsical journey into the realm of fantasy comedy anime, providing an excellent platform for Japanese language learners to expand their vocabulary. Set in a demon school, the series introduces viewers to a playful and magical vocabulary, enriching their linguistic repertoire with words associated with supernatural elements and school life. From fantastical creatures and spells to the unique dynamics of a demon school, learners can expect to encounter a range of imaginative terms, making the show a vibrant and engaging way to learn Japanese.


The anime's focus on school life and the interactions between human and demon characters ensures that learners are exposed to everyday language used in educational settings, albeit in a fantastical context. The show seamlessly integrates whimsical vocabulary with humor, allowing learners to absorb new words in a lighthearted and enjoyable manner. As viewers follow the adventures of the protagonist in this supernatural school, they not only enhance their language skills but also gain cultural insights into the playful side of Japanese storytelling. In essence, "Mairimashita! Iruma-kun" provides a unique blend of fantasy, comedy, and everyday language that makes it an entertaining and educational choice for those seeking to improve their Japanese vocabulary.


The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House (Netflix)

Japanese learning

"The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House," available on Netflix, emerges as a delectable feast for Japanese language learners, offering a captivating exploration of Japanese food and culture. The slice-of-life drama revolves around a young woman who opens a restaurant near a geisha house, providing an immersive experience into the world of traditional Japanese cuisine. Viewers can expect to encounter an array of vocabulary related to culinary arts, from specific ingredients and cooking techniques to the cultural significance attached to different dishes. This culinary journey not only enriches learners' understanding of Japanese gastronomy but also equips them with a specialized vocabulary that extends beyond everyday conversation.


The show's focus on the cultural aspects of running a restaurant near a geisha house ensures that learners are exposed to terminology unique to Japanese customs and traditions. From the intricacies of tea ceremonies to the artistry of traditional dishes, "The Makanai" intertwines language acquisition with a cultural exploration, offering a holistic learning experience. By immersing viewers in the world of Japanese culinary arts and cultural practices, the series not only enhances their vocabulary but also provides valuable insights into the rich tapestry of Japanese traditions, making it an ideal choice for language enthusiasts eager to savor both linguistic and cultural nuances.


First Love (Netflix)

Japanese learning

"First Love," a romantic drama available on Netflix, transports viewers to the nostalgic setting of 1990s Japan, offering a linguistic journey rich in emotional depth and teenage love. The series revolves around two high school students who navigate the complexities of love during a transformative period in Japanese history. This context provides language learners with a unique opportunity to acquire vocabulary that captures the essence of teenage emotions, relationships, and the cultural backdrop of the 1990s. Viewers can expect to encounter expressions related to young love, coming-of-age experiences, and the vernacular of that particular era, allowing for a nuanced exploration of language within a specific cultural and historical context.


As characters grapple with the challenges and joys of first love, "First Love" immerses viewers in a narrative that incorporates nostalgic vocabulary, providing a linguistic snapshot of a bygone era. The series' focus on the emotional intricacies of relationships ensures that learners not only expand their everyday vocabulary but also gain insight into the subtleties of expressing feelings in Japanese. In essence, "First Love" stands as a linguistic time capsule, offering language enthusiasts a poignant and culturally rich avenue for improving their Japanese vocabulary while relishing the tender moments of teenage romance.


Lost Man Found (NHK)

Japanese learning

"Lost Man Found," a gripping crime drama featured on NHK, serves as an immersive gateway for Japanese language learners into the world of law enforcement and criminal justice. The series follows a detective as he unravels a series of murders, presenting a narrative rich in crime-related vocabulary. Viewers can expect to encounter terms associated with investigations, police procedures, and the intricacies of solving complex cases. The show's commitment to authenticity ensures that learners are exposed to a specialized lexicon used within the criminal justice system, making it an invaluable resource for those interested in legal and detective terminology.


As characters delve into the challenges of solving crimes, "Lost Man Found" provides a nuanced exploration of law enforcement, offering viewers not only an engaging storyline but also a comprehensive understanding of police work. The show's thematic depth allows language learners to absorb vocabulary related to crime scenes, forensics, and the legal aspects of criminal investigations. In essence, "Lost Man Found" emerges as a compelling tool for improving Japanese vocabulary by immersing viewers in the thrilling world of crime-solving while expanding their linguistic proficiency in the realm of law enforcement.


The Legend & Butterfly (Toei)

Japanese learning

"The Legend & Butterfly," a captivating historical drama from Toei, weaves a tale of love and intrigue set against the backdrop of samurai lord Oda Nobunaga and his wife, Nohime. The series offers Japanese language learners a unique opportunity to enrich their vocabulary with formal and historical terms. As characters navigate the complex relationships and political landscape of feudal Japan, viewers can expect to encounter a wealth of vocabulary related to historical events, traditional customs, and the hierarchical structure of society during the samurai era. This thematic immersion provides learners with a linguistic journey that extends beyond everyday language, offering insights into the formalities and historical nuances of Japan's rich cultural heritage.


The show's commitment to authenticity ensures that viewers are exposed to terminology reflective of the time period, presenting a linguistic experience that aligns with the historical accuracy of the narrative. From formal court language to expressions used in samurai households, "The Legend & Butterfly" not only offers a captivating storyline but also serves as a valuable resource for learners eager to delve into the linguistic intricacies of Japan's historical epochs. In essence, the series stands as a linguistic time machine, providing language enthusiasts with an engaging and educational portal to expand their Japanese vocabulary within the context of feudal Japan.


Radiation House (Fuji TV)

Japanese learning

"Radiation House," the compelling medical drama featured on Fuji TV, takes viewers on a linguistic journey into the world of radiology, medicine, and technology. The series follows a radiologist working at a university hospital, presenting a rich tapestry of vocabulary associated with medical practices and cutting-edge advancements. As characters navigate the challenges of diagnosing and treating patients, viewers can expect to encounter a specialized lexicon, including medical terminology, technological terms related to radiology, and discussions on scientific advancements. This thematic focus provides language learners with a unique opportunity to expand their Japanese vocabulary while gaining insights into the complexities of modern healthcare.


In addition to medical jargon, "Radiation House" intertwines vocabulary related to interpersonal relationships among healthcare professionals and the emotional aspects of dealing with patients. The show explores the human side of medicine, allowing learners to absorb expressions associated with empathy, patient care, and the dynamics within a medical team. By immersing viewers in the world of healthcare, technology, and human connections, "Radiation House" emerges as an invaluable resource for those seeking to enhance their Japanese language skills within the context of medical sciences and the intricate web of emotions that accompany this field.


警視庁・捜査一課長 (テレビ朝日)

Japanese learning

警視庁・捜査一課長 (Detective Chief of the First Investigation Unit), airing on テレビ朝日 (TV Asahi), offers Japanese language learners an intriguing glimpse into the realm of police procedural dramas, enhancing their vocabulary in law enforcement and criminal justice. The series follows the chief of the first investigation unit of the Metropolitan Police Department as he tackles complex cases, providing a robust lexicon of terms related to investigations, forensic procedures, and legal processes. Viewers can expect to encounter expressions used in police work, crime-solving techniques, and discussions on the intricacies of criminal investigations, making it an immersive and educational experience.


Beyond the technical aspects, the show delves into the interpersonal dynamics within the police force, offering learners vocabulary related to teamwork, leadership, and the emotional toll of dealing with criminal cases. As characters navigate the challenges of solving crimes, language enthusiasts can absorb not only the language associated with law enforcement but also the nuanced expressions tied to the human aspects of policing. In essence, 警視庁・捜査一課長 provides a comprehensive language learning experience, combining technical jargon with insights into the emotional and professional aspects of the world of criminal investigations in Japan.


鎌倉殿の13人 (NHK)

Japanese learning

NHK's historical drama, 鎌倉殿の13人 (The 13 Lords of the Kamakura Shogunate), offers Japanese language learners a captivating journey into the formal and historical vocabulary of Japan's rich past. Set in the Kamakura period, the series narrates the story of Minamoto no Yoritomo, the first shogun. Viewers are immersed in a linguistic landscape that includes traditional expressions, courtly language, and historical terminology. The formal and historical vocabulary used in the show extends to cover the intricacies of court etiquette, samurai culture, and the political landscape of the Kamakura era, providing learners with a specialized lexicon that transports them to Japan's feudal history.


Beyond language, the series serves as an educational window into the traditions and customs of medieval Japan. Viewers can expect to absorb not only the language of the time but also gain cultural insights into the hierarchical structures, martial traditions, and political intrigue that characterized the Kamakura period. In essence, 鎌倉殿の13人 stands as a linguistic and cultural time capsule, offering language enthusiasts an enriching experience to deepen their understanding of formal and historical Japanese vocabulary within the context of a pivotal period in the nation's history.


These ten Japanese shows of 2023 offer a diverse range of genres and themes, providing language learners with an immersive and entertaining way to expand their vocabulary. As you embark on your language journey, remember that the key to effective learning is finding shows that resonate with your interests. Experiment with different genres and themes to discover the perfect balance of entertainment and educational value, making your language learning experience both enjoyable and rewarding.



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