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Japan: Free videos and home entertainment

  • Keep in touch with Japan: Home entertainment

    As a period of social distancing prolongs, virtual travel, even without special gears, can be a substitute for the real thing.

    During these difficult times, many quality videos are made available to watch online and for free.

    Our second of the series to stay in touch with Japan is home entertainment.

    Voyage à distance au Japon : divertissements à domicile

    Here are our picks of websites to watch quality videos for free – Japanese dramas, documentaries, variety shows, animated films and more – though they do not offer multilingual subtitles.

    This time around, these sites are selected mainly for our readers actually staying Japan, as most of the videos cannot be watched from overseas.

    *This post is NOT a promotional feature.



    GYAO is a video on demand service started in 2005 by USEN Corporation. It is now run by Yahoo! Japan and its subsidiary Gyao Corporation, both under SoftBank Group Corp.

    GYAO offers a variety of videos, mostly for free: films, dramas, music, variety shows, animation films and sports.

    From Detective Conan and One Piece, to Japanese & Hollywood films and J-Pop music videos, the sheer variety of contents available for free is just impressive.

    The challenge is to navigate through the monolingual website.



    Tver is another free video on demand service and dedicated to rebroadcasting Japanese TV programmes. It was launched by a consortium of major commercial TV stations in 2015.

    A number of programmes are available and updated constantly. That include popular TV shows and excellent documentaries made in Japan.

    Unfortunately, though, videos cannot be watched from outside of the country.



    Hulu is a Japanese subscription video-on-demand company, and a spin-off of the American company Hulu.

    In the wake of the stay-at-home recommendations (not “orders” in Japan), Hulu now also offers a variety of free videos, which can be watched without any membership subscription.

    They include Namie Amuro documentaries, an assortment of animation films, fitness programmes, nostalgic shows for children and classical music concerts.

    But again, they cannot be watched from overseas.

    Voyage à distance au Japon : divertissements à domicile

* The above is the information known at the time of publication and subject to change without prior notice.


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