top of page

J-Drama Catch Up!

boy and girl in garden

I love watching Japanese drama: the stories are gentle and heart-warming; the locations are great; and the stories are interesting!

That they help with my Japanese language learning is great too!

The following two dramas are some of the best J-drama I've seen since Why I Dress Up for Love, and An Incurable Case of Love!

Today we're looking at two great J-dramas that are hugely enjoyable: Hold My Hand at Twilight and I Don't Love You Yet.

These dramas are similar in that at their heart they both examine a close supportive friendship between a boy and a girl which allows them to be their authentic selves. The friendships are fun and entertaining and very endearing to watch. The burning question is though, what happens to a friendship when for one of them it begins to tip over into love?


Hold My Hand at Twilight (2023), 夕暮れに、手をつなぐ

boy and girl and tokyo tower

Kyushu girl Soramame Asagi (Suzu Hirose) is excited to travel to Tokyo for the first time to see her fiance, but when she arrives in the city the day goes from bad to worse. At the same time, the fates appear to be determined to place her near to a kind and gentle young man, songwriter Oto Umino (Ren Nagase).

When Oto's artist landlady brings Soramame home for a night's stay, an extraordinary friendship between Soramame and Oto begins to develop. The two leads have such wonderful chemistry, their playful relationship feels authentic and is great fun to watch!

It's wonderful to see creatives pursuing their dreams in Japanese drama; we've already seen Suzu Hirose play a talented animator (loosely based on Reiko Okuyama) in asadora Natsuzora, and this time she plays a free-spirited, aspiring fashion designer. Suzu Hirose brings so much to the character of Soramame: her passions, her vulnerabilities, her thoughtful wisdom, and her fierce individuality. And Ren Nagase's Oto is in perfect harmony with her, being a caring young man, quietly adoring her.

I haven't seen a Japanese romance drama quite as bitter-sweet as this one before: it is genuinely funny, genuinely moving, and it's heart-warming too. It's impossible not to care for the main character Soramame as her heart shatters once again.


I Don't Love You Yet (In Time With You) (2019), 僕はまだ君を愛さないことができる

I Don't Love You Yet poster

Best friends Mitarai Yo (Rika Adachi) and Ishida Ren (Jin Shirasu) first meet at High School when Ren defends Yo who is the new girl at school and is bullied by the other students.

But Ren swears to her that he will never be interested in her - never love her - and so their friendship continues through university and their work days.

They regard each other as mates only, but they are the only people with whom they can be their authentic selves: cry, complain, laugh.

They swear a pact, that whoever marries by Yo's next birthday will receive a cash prize. Yo is so focussed on men who aren't this 'friend who will never love her', that she falls for all the wrong guys.

Ren too, finds himself in a relationship that to the viewer just doesn't feel right, especially as we have seen his relaxed and happy manner when he's with Yo.

boy and girl laughing

Her family adore him, and his family adore her, and so we are following this drama simply waiting for the moment when they actually begin to take a proper look at each other.

This drama is a slow-burn look at a relationship as it begins to burn bright with love, and the co-stars have such wonderful chemistry it's a great show to watch.

So if you feel like a feel-good show set in Tokyo, this could well be the one for you!


I hope you've enjoyed our latest update about Japanese drama. Do let us know your favourite shows,

as we are always keen to see more!

If you've enjoyed this blog, you might like our other blogs about J-drama :)

See you next time,




Hold My Hand at Twilight: Rakuten

Hold my hand at Twilight: The Movie Database

I Don't Love You Yet: The Movie Database

I don't Love you Yet: Vocal Media Geeks


bottom of page