Watching these Korean and Japanese School dramas makes me want to go to school in Korea or Japan. These dramas listed below are revolve around a common theme: they all feature troubled kids who all have their own story to tell and not one story is simple. But as they go through their journey, they become whole and believe in themselves again. When these kids start to form close relationships with each other, we see the blossoming of the kind of relationships that will make us happy and smiling inside. Here are the top 5 most inspirational Korean and Japanese school dramas!

1. God of Study

Credit: KBS2

If you ever need to be motivated to prep for your next exam, this is the drama to watch. This show helped me a lot back in high school. But make sure you give yourself enough time to actually study afterwards. The show is about a crazy lawyer who motivates and guides 5 lost sheep (students) to realize their own hidden potentials and that you can achieve anything as long as you first believe in yourself. God of Study is based on the manga, “Dragon Zukura”.

Country: Korea
Year: 2010
Network: KBS2
Where to watch: Viki

2. Gokusen

Credit: Nippon TV

Gokusen has 3 seasons featuring different students but the same teacher. If I had to pick which season I loved the most, I wouldn’t really be able to answer. I can’t betray any of them! IMO, they are equally EPIC. Gokusen is really a one-of-a-kind. The premise is we have a pure-hearted, naive, innocent lady who also comes from a family of Yazuka. She achieves her dream of becoming a teacher and is going to help a bunch of troublesome kids succeed. All 3 seasons of Gokusen feature all-star casts. Gokusen season 1 students stars Jun Matsumoto and Shun Oguri. Season 2 students stars Kazuya Kamenashi and Jin Akanishi. Season 3 stars Yuya Takaki and Haruma Miura. And also our Queen Teach, Yukie Nakama!

Country: Japan
Year: Season 1 (2002), Season 2 (2005), Season 3 (2008)
Network: Nippon TV

3. Angry Mom

Credit: MBC

Don’t be misled by the title. Though she is angry, she is much more of a badass mom that everyone wants. She is on a mission to root out all the bad at the school her daughter attends after finding out her daughter is being bullied. How is she going to do that you ask? By going back to school as a high school student of course! She’s going to rewind her youth and in the process unknowingly revert to her old high school ways. 

Country: Korea
Year: 2015
Network: MBC
Where to watch: Viki

4. School 2013

Credit: KBS

If I had to pick one word to describe this show it would be bromance. This show has it all: a class full of troublemakers, wimpy kids, studious nerds and our quiet but loyal hero. This show is about a class full of different students who face their own challenges as they try to graduate together and find their way in life. Our main leads (Lee Jong-suk and Kim Woo-bin) are two old friends who had a falling out in a past life but are reunited years later at the same school. Together and reunited, will they be able to heal each others wounds when the past comes knocking? And what will they do when they are faced to confront their weaknesses? Can they team up and become bros again?

Country: Korea
Year: 2012
Network: KBS
Where to watch: Viki

5. Great Teacher Onizuka (GTO)

Credit: Fuji TV

Ok, GTO is a true classic. It was first released in 1997 as a Japanese manga series and was acknowledged as “too hilarious and heartwarming”. Subsequently, an anime of the series was released in 1999, followed by the drama adaptation in 2012. The premise of this show follows a 22-year-old former gangster-and-alleged-pervert named Eikichi Onizuka who becomes a teacher to delinquent students. Will these delinquent students defy the Great Teacher Onizuka or will Onizuka succeed in inspiring and guiding these students towards each of their own bright futures? P.S. This series has some of the darkest student arcs I’ve ever seen in drama land but it’s so worth it.

Country: Japan
Year: 2012
Network: Fuji TV

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