3 Japanese Shows with a New Edge to Reality Dating

By: Ebonie Mustipher
Image courtesy of Netflix Japan

Over the last few years there has been a rise in Japanese consumers who are making the move to SVOD platforms. The biggest SVOD (subscription video on demand) platforms in Japan are Amazon Prime with a reported 19.7 million monthly active users and Netflix with a reported 7.5 million monthly active users. Although Netflix has less monthly active users it has more market share

In 2023 it was announced that Netflix would release several new Japanese reality shows to expand its reach in Japan. The line-up was made up of dating and comedy shows as those are the most popular television categories in Japan. “According to a survey conducted in Japan in September 2021, 37 percent of television viewers liked variety or comedy programs.”  

Here are three unique Japanese shows that are bringing a new edge to the dating reality scene on Netflix. 

Is She the Wolf? 

The Netflix dating series, Is She the Wolf? features ten people with ages ranging from early 20s to early 30s who are looking for love. At least, most of them are there looking for love. Among the ten contestants, one or more females are acting as a “wolf”. The wolves must try their best to deceive their potential romantic partners until the end. During the conclusion of the show the male contestants will confess to the female contestant they love the most and only then will everyone’s true identity be revealed. 

Throughout the 12 episodes, there is one group mission and many individual missions. There are also opportunities for public and private dates. During the private dates, contestants will have an opportunity to chat with each other with no interruptions. During public dates, participants have the opportunity to be a third, fourth —or even fifth — wheel and sabotage the potential connections.

Is She the Wolf? is full of heavy moments, as no one knows who to trust, and the wolves struggle to deceive others. Viewers are sure to feel strongly for the contestants and remain entertained until the end.

Love Like a K-drama

Love Like a K-Drama features actresses from Japan and actors from South Korea. Both sets of actors lack experience in the industry. Their participation on the show will help them gain experience and bring them closer to their big break. Each week the eight actors pair up with each other and audition for a chance to be in a mini K-drama. 

The host of the show is Yuko Fueki, a Japanese actress who is popular in South Korea. Throughout the show, she helps the pairs improve their acting skills along with the help of other industry professionals. The actors encounter many challenges, such as navigating language barriers, dealing with jealousy, and maintaining their passion for acting. The actors often receive criticism for their acting, chemistry, and interpretation of the script, which takes a toll on their spirit. With many overlapping and real experiences, it is only natural for the actors to develop romantic feelings for one another. Love Like a K-Drama is sure to satisfy the curiosities of fans who have always wondered, Is it possible to fall in love on a drama set?

Love Village 

Love Village is a Japanese dating show that appeals to a different type of audience. The show features a group of 16 individuals who are 35 years old and older. The contestants start with a group of eight people who are living in a shared house in the countryside. They have two main tasks: renovate their shared house and find love. When a contestant feels like they have found “the one,” they will then ring a bell behind the shared house and wait 24 hours for a response. If the person they confessed to reciprocates the confessor’s feelings, then the pair will immediately leave the shared house and begin their relationship. If the person they confessed to does not feel the same way, then the confessor will leave the shared house alone and find love elsewhere. 

Since all contestants are adults, there are bound to be plenty of emotionally charged moments throughout the show. There are often talks of intimacy, past relationships, and personal perceptions of love. Audiences of varying ages are guaranteed to feel a tug in their heartstrings as they watch 12 episodes of unfiltered love between middle-aged individuals in the countryside.

Need another serving of love? Check out “5 API Sundance Films Reimaging Non-Traditional Love Stories” here!