Technology shares were mixed: Nikon advanced 0.4 percent while Nintendo slid 1.31 percent.
Reinsurance company Swiss Re said it was in talks with SoftBank over a "potential minority investment." According to the Wall Street Journal, SoftBank is looking for an up to $10 billion stake in the company. Separately, the Japanese conglomerate announced on Wednesday it was making preparations to list its domestic telecommunications arm, SoftBank Corporation. Shares of SoftBank reversed early losses to close higher by 0.98 percent.
Even with Thursday's gains, the Nikkei was still down almost 4.5 percent so far this week.
In Seoul, the Kospi closed up 0.46 percent at 2,407.62 after finishing in negative territory on Wednesday. Heavily weighted technology stocks gained, with chipmaker SK Hynix climbing 3.94 percent to extend last session's gains.
Samsung Electronics tacked on 0.44 percent by the end of the day. The move followed news that its chairman, Lee Kun-hee, was suspected of tax evasion.
South Korean manufacturers were a mixed picture. Steelmaker Posco closed down 1.23 percent, Hyundai Steel slipped 0.55 percent and Samsung Engineering added 1 percent.
Down Under, the S&P/ASX 200 edged up 0.24 percent to finish the session at 5,890.7 as losses in the energy and materials sectors were offset by gains in the heavily weighted financials sub-index, which rose 0.75 percent.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 0.35 percent at 3:14 p.m. HK/SIN. Among blue chips, HSBC traded higher by 0.56 percent and tech giant Tencent advanced 1.49 percent ahead of the market close. Energy-related stocks were in negative territory.
Wynn Macau stock jumped 8.2 percent at 3:19 p.m. HK/SIN after resuming trade on Thursday. The pop in share price came after casino mogul Steve Wynn's departure as CEO and chairman of Wynn Resort on Wednesday following allegations of sexual misconduct, which Wynn denied.
Indexes on the mainland closed mixed after lagging other regional indexes in the last session: The Shanghai composite slid 1.42 percent to close at 3,262.15 while the Shenzhen composite rose by 1.18 percent to end at 1,734.57.
The blue chip CSI 300 finished down 0.96 percent as banks listed on the mainland extended losses: Industrial and Commercial Bank of China tumbled 4.35 percent and Bank of China lost 3.49 percent by the end of the day.