In this list, we have combined the names of both live-action series as well as animated series that are all based on Japanese legends and mythologies. Japanese myths and legends are all extraordinarily vivid and rich and have been wonderfully portrayed in Japanese media. Japanese animation is one unique medium through which Japanese folklore and legends are described.
1. Youkai Sharehouse
In this series, we follow our female protagonist, Mio Meguro, a kind and soft-spoken person. She wanted to find love and live a peaceful life. Things, however, do not go as planned as the man she thought she loved scammed her and left her without any money. As she hits rock bottom, Mio finds herself at a shared house inhabited by Youkai or Japanese spirits. Soon, their lives intertwine, and these spirits help our protagonist in various ways.
2. Kaiden Botan Doro
Here we follow Otsuyu, or the ghost of Otsuyu. Every night, we see her visit her lover, Hagiwara Shinzaburo. The love whom she died waiting for. In this series, we enter a tale of betrayal, love, and revenge. The Japanese have deeply belive in the spirits and ghosts of people, also known as Youaki. They believe that even after death the souls of the deceased continue to roam the earth.
3. Ju-On Origins
Here we follow Haruka Honjo, a young woman who is an aspiring actress. At night, she hears mysterious sounds and footsteps coming from her house. She was forced to visit a psychic to solve the problems happening in her home. There is a strong belief in Japanese legends and folklore about the ghosts of vengeful spirits also known as Onryo. They are, also referred to as wrathful spirits.
Mushishi is an anime based on several Japanese myths and folktales. In this anime, we dive straight into Japanese mythology and legends. Our protagonist here is, Ginko, a man who is, interested in studying the various spirits of the world. Through this series, we can see the magic in our ordinary, everyday lives.
Noragami is a Japanese animated series that follows our protagonist, Yato, a rookie god. This anime is fictional however, it is rooted in Japanese legends and cultures. It is primarily rooted in Shinto religion and practices. Yato is a minor god who wants to get a shrine that was dedicated to him. He eventually teams up with an ordinary human girl to get the recognition he deserves.
Naruto is another Japanese animated series. It is a top-rated Japanese series. Here, our main protagonist is a young boy named Naruto, who is possessed by the Kyubi no Kitsune, also known as the nine-tailed fox. There are a lot of Japanese legends, and myths that surround the tale of the Kitsune or the nine-tailed fox. Kitsunes are fox spirits and the number of tails they have are indicative of the level of wisdom and magical powers that they have.
7. Someday I Will Fall Asleep
In this Japanese drama, we follow Morino Hotaru, a young woman who tragically dies in an accident. However, to attain salvation, she is needed to fulfil three conditions. Here, we see the depiction of Japanese spirits or Youkai and the Japanese depiction of the grim reaper, also known as Shinigami.
8. Shinigami Kun
Shinigami Kun is a Japanese series that follows our protagonist, Shinigami Kun, also Grim Reaper #413, a rookie grim reaper responsible for guiding the souls of the deceased to the underworld. Through this, we also get a fresh perspective of a grim reaper who is new to this business of transporting souls.
9. Kamisama Kiss
Kamisama Kiss is another viral animated series that is rooted in Japanese legends. We follow Nanami Momozono, who is our protagonist. A young high-school girl gets charged with managing the shrine of the Land God; she encounters other fascinating spirits and Gods. She also meets Tomoe, our male protagonist, who is also a Kitsune, a fox spirit who is also familiar with the Land God. We slowly see both navigate through their own lives and slowly develop feelings for each other.
10. Ayakashi: Japanese Classic Horror
This series is a collection of three different stories, which are all based on Japanese legends and myths. In one of the myths, we follow the tale of a betrayed wife who seeks vengeance even after death. In another story, we follow a love story between an ordinary human and a goddess. In another story, we follow the spirit of a cat monster who tries to get revenge on a specific family.