Anime Underground
804 voters

Anime That Actually Teach You About Traditional Japanese Culture

Updated November 9, 2018 2.4k votes 804 voters 40.5k views20 items

List RulesVote up the anime that taught you the most about traditional Japanese culture.

While most anime is focused on modern-day Japanese life, or life in fantastical worlds, there's actually a lot of anime with roots in traditional Japanese culture. These shows not only have great stories with compelling characters, but they're also a wonderful way to learn about real, traditional Japanese culture (without having to crack open a textbook).

Do you want to learn about rakugo, a form of Japanese storytelling? Try Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju. How about shogi, a form of Japanese chess? Try March Comes in Like a Lion. There's anime about traditional Japanese culture of every kind, so choose the one that best suits you.

  • Rurouni Kenshin is far from the only anime that focuses on samurai, but it's one of the most well-known. Samurai were members of the warrior caste in medieval and early-modern Japan. They generally belonged to clans, and were expected to serve a daimyō, or a feudal lord.

    They followed Confucian teachings, and their behavior was often used as a model for other castes and classes.

    More Rurouni Kenshin 

    #82 of 256 The Best Anime Series of All Time#479 of 636 The Best Cartoons of All Time#3 of 146 The Best Old School Anime From 1999 and Before

  • Photo: Madhouse

    Chihayafuru centers around an high school club with an unusual focus, karuta. Karuta is a physically and intellectually challenging card game based on Ogura Hyakunin Isshu, a Japanese anthology of 100 poets.

    More Chihayafuru 

    #88 of 91 The Most Popular Anime Right Now#77 of 125 The Best Romance Anime Ever Made#109 of 132 The Best Anime on Crunchyroll

  • 3


    Barakamon follows a young man named Handa Seishuu, as he learns how to balance his calligraphy career with his mental health. Calligraphy is a form of artistic writing, and it has particular importance in Japan.

    Almost every country with a writing system uses some form of calligraphy.

  • 4

    Natsume's Book Of Friends

    Natsume's Book Of Friends is one of many anime that include yokai, a variety of supernatural monsters, spirits, or demons that show up frequently in traditional Japanese folklore. Other shows include xxxHolic, Kekkaishi, and Mushi-Shi


    #73 of 143 The Best Fantasy Anime of All Time#104 of 206 The Saddest Anime Series of All Time#40 of 46 Which Anime Universe Would You Want To Live In?