As we move further into the year 2011, many people are making a New Year’s resolution to learn Japanese. One great way to enhance your listening skills is to watch Japanese doramas (ドラマ). A dorama is a television series that usually runs for ten episodes. Here is a list of some doramas of 2010 that span various genres.
Gegege no Nyobo (ゲゲゲの女房) is a family drama that tells a story about the life of a married couple. Family dramas tend to be heartwarming, honest and they are also typically age appropriate for children to watch. It’s about 150 or so episodes, and each episode is 15 minutes long. The short length of the episodes makes it ideal for study purposes because you don’t have to pay attention for long periods of time and you can stop the tape and listen to it again.
Unubore Deka (うぬぼれ刑事) is an offbeat comedy starring Nagase Tomoya, who plays a detective. The story centers on the detective and how he always falls in love with the female criminals that he arrests. You can always watch this drama with subtitles, but for those who are watching without subtitles, the pace of the conversation, and the topics, including the jokes, are for advanced Japanese listeners.
Code Blue (コード・ブルー) is a medical drama that involves the challenges of being a flight doctor. The drama stars Yamashita Tomohisa, Aragaki Yui, and Toda Erika. This drama contains some technical and medical terms, so if you need to learn some medical Japanese, this may be a good one to watch.
If you’re into fantasy and comedy, you may want to watch Kaibutsu-kun (怪物くん), starring Ohno Satoshi. The story centers on a prince who travels to the human world before he takes the throne to rule over other monsters. This drama was probably targeted for a younger audience, so no inappropriate content is involved.
Tsuki no Koibito (月の恋人) is a romance drama starring Kimura Takuya. The drama focuses on a driven young man who is the president of a company. He meets two women and has to decide which one is the right one for him. I would say the dialogue is pretty basic and standard, so intermediate level learners will probably not have too much difficulty understanding this drama.
Remember, that not all of the dramas listed here are necessarily fun to watch. If you can get past some of the storylines and the occasional boredom, watching Japanese dramas can be a great way to learn the intonation, pausing and phrasing of words, not to mention it’ll increase your vocabulary.