Download Japanese subtitles as TEXT from Netflix using a Kodi plugin

Note: while this article is written from the perspective of obtaining Japanese subtitles, it should work just as well for subtitles in other languages.

My journey of obtaining Japanese subtitles from Netflix has been a long one, but I’ve finally arrived at the holy grail: downloading the Japanese subs as TEXT. We had previously discovered that you could download Japanese subtitles as images using a script in your web browser. You could then perform OCR to turn those subtitles into text. While this worked alright, the subtitles weren’t perfect, and would contain some amount of errors that would need to be manually corrected.

This new method is a little more difficult to get set up, but lets you get the subtitles perfectly without any errors. However, there is still one caveat with this method: available subtitles are mostly based on your location. So, this means that MOST Japanese subtitles are only available for people who are physically located in Japan, or who are using one of the few working Japanese VPNs. So the other method of downloading the image-based subtitles might work better for some people, depending on your situation.

I just want the subs!

I have already downloaded Japanese subtitles from over 100 shows and movies, including just about all of the native Japanese Netflix originals, and you can grab them all here.

I want to do it myself!

Here is how it’s done. (sorry for the rambling instructions, I’ll try to make it easier to follow sometime)

First, you need to download and install Kodi 18. At this time, version 18 is only available as development builds. You can download the windows 64-bit version here. You can find links to downloads for other platforms through the Kodi download page, just make sure to select the development builds to access version 18, because version 17 will not work!

Next, you will need my NetflixSubs plugin for Kodi (updated 4/8/2018).

Install Kodi 18 using the Full installation option, then Run Kodi.

Go to: Settings > Add ons > My add ons > All > Inputstream Adaptive > Enable

Go to: Settings > Add ons > Install from zip file

You will get a popup window saying that installing from unknown sources is disabled. Click the “settings” button.

Enable “unknown sources” and then click “yes”.

Return to “install from zip file” and select the modified NetflixSubs plugin to install it.

If you use Netflix in a language other than English, go to settings > interface > Skin > fonts > Arial based.

Return to the Kodi main screen, and select Add-ons > NetflixSubs.

Enter your Netflix login details. If you get a login error, please try closing Kodi and then open it and the NetflixSubs plugin again.  (Caution! It is never safe to enter login information into untrusted software. At the very least, you should not reuse your Netflix password on other sites!)

You should be able to browse through Netflix. (for ease of use, I recommend adding any shows you want subtitles for to your “My List” prior to starting Kodi)

Select an episode or movie to play. You will get a popup saying Playback Failed, but it should save the subtitle files. By default, I believe it will try to save inside the Kodi installation folder. You can change the location to save files from within the plugin’s settings, which can be accessed by right-clicking on the plugin from the Kodi home screen.

NetflixSubs Changelog

Download latest version

4/8/18

  • Moved all settings into the plugin’s settings menu, including allowing you to select which folder to save the subtitles to
  • Changed the plugin name so it can coexist with the normal Netflix plugin

3/31/18

  • When mutiple subtitles exist for the same language, the plugin will now download all of them but just keep the largest one. The extra files were generally just a subset of the largest one.