The Difficulty Ranking of Getting Access to Japanese Video — 19 Comments

  1. Crunchy roll has about 100 jdrama. Better than nothing, but it would be great if they put a lot more focus on that considering they have about 1,120 anime.

    • Thanks Andrew. I wasn’t aware of that and that’s awesome that they have even that amount of J-drama.

  2. If you have an Android box, or want to buy one, there are plenty of IPTVs. I have iSakura. The premium 80 channels is like 240.00 a year. You can get less channels for half the price. It will give you live TV from Japan. It’s what I use and it’s helped immensely. It also has 2 week playback in case you missed a show, want to pause it, or rewatch something. Using an Nvidia shield and it works wonderfully.

    • There’s also The quality is very good. It is available on the PC, Android and iOS phones and tablets, and Android boxes. I don’t know how legal they are officially, but they show all the advertisement in the programs, and in the live streams you cannot “jump” over them, so the TV companies shouldn’t complain.

      • I just checked out based on this comment. So awesome! I haven’t looked into iSakura or others yet so have no basis for comparison, but either way… definitely spent an entire evening flipping channels through Japanese TV on my Shield, which blew my mind. Been looking for something just like this.

        For anyone else who’s curious, note that the app is not in the Play store (or app store, if you’re iOS) — I had to download and install the APK manually. Totally worth it, though.

  3. This is honestly one of the most difficult things for me as well. I always want to watch things legally but it’s depressing that some services even region block your payment method (looking at you, Amazon Streaming…)

    However I have subscriptions to most of the sites that I rely on for content (Netflix, Amazon Prime, TTFC) .Thankfully VPN’s are a lifesaver for these services but as you said, it does technically violate the terms of service but at least I paid them for the content :/

    I admit that I want to spend a few months in Japan right next to a DVD rental store so I can see so many of these dramas and movies you keep recommending on this site!

    Anyways, for J-Dramas, a subscription to Viki may be in order, but they have WAY more k-dramas than j-dramas :c and there’s the *occasional* drama on Crunchyroll.

    For Variety Shows, this streaming service just got off the ground and may be promising. It’s owned by NHK, but I have not tried it myself yet:

    • Japan makes it tough on learners. They should be embracing the wave of people interested in Japanese TV :)

      Yes, go on a J-drama binge once you get that DVD rental store.

      • I found this comment by accident and I can say – after 6 months of living here, the amount of money I have spent at Tsutaya is heinous but worth it! I never saw myself being a drama addict but here I am…

  4. Strangely enough, it is ridiculously difficult to find sweet and nice shoujo anime legally in the U.S. I imagine it must be that most services do not think that there is much of a market for it here.

    • That’s interesting. So even sites like Crunchyroll have a limited selection of them?

      You’d think shojo anime would have enough popularity to make it to sites like these.

      • I have not had a lot of luck. I am ridiculously bad at finding things, so it could just be me, but I do not think so. Sailor Moon is on Hulu, both the old series and Sailor Moon Crystal. For a short time, Aria and Maria-sama ga Miteru were on Hulu, but that did not last long.

        Precure is nowhere to be found legally, at least as far as I know. Last I saw, which was about a year ago, Crunchyroll had the very first season, but with hardwired English subtitles. I actually have a very hard time navigating Crunchyroll, though. Netflix did a localized English-dubbed version of two seasons of Precure, Smile and DokiDoki, which they retitled Glitter Force. They were ok, and it is possible to get a Japanese dub over the English dub, but that just seems wrong. They did have a Swedish dub available, which I thought might be ok (I am studying Swedish as well, and children’s shows in Swedish tend to be really awful), but they were so Westernized, I could only manage a couple of episodes before giving up on them.

        I have found some others on Netflix and Hulu, but the ones that were available were a lot darker and more cynical than the ones I like.

        It feels to me that there is a sense that Americans do not like things that are sweet and nice, so they are not marketed here. I do not know that for sure, but that is what it feels like.

        Although, I did find one lovely series on Netflix. It was not a shoujo series, nor was it Anime. I think the name of it was Final Fantasy, Dad of Light, about a grown son who bonded with his aging father over Final Fantasy. I have to say it made me cry.

        • Actually, looking over anime titles released in recent years in Japan, very, very few anime are based on shojo manga.

          So there is just not very much out there available to be localized.

  5. It is also possible that the TV bosses in Japan simply don’t want foreigners to learn their language. A banal prejudice. I’ve heard before that many Japanese people (not all of them, of course) have this attitude quite often.

  6. There’s also TV Japan here in the States, but it’s ridiculously expensive. 25 bucks a month for one channel? C’mon, now!
    They mainly show programs from NHK and a few programs from other Japanese stations.

    I tried NHK’s streaming service, DLibrary Japan. The content is very limited for now (Just started back in January). I believe it has potential to be a good service. I’m gonna try it again in a few months when they have more content.

  7. Even though I love anime, I would have probably quit studying Japanese if it was all anime all the time. Watching dramas, variety shows, and NHK have really helped me stick with immersion and stay excited about the language and the culture of Japan. Some cities in the U.S. do have Japanese video stores. These are really amazing because you can both rent videos and also talk to the people who work there. I used to have the netflix vpn thing going, and that was really awesome, but it stopped working a year or two ago

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