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Sunday, June 12, 2005


TBS's "Red Suspicion," "Downtown DX" on NTV and more

More than a few critics have taken exception to the Korean TV drama boom that has swept Japan in the past few years, saying that many of the plots were lifted almost directly from Japanese TV dramas of the 1970s, especially the "Red" serials that always starred idol Momoe Yamaguchi and which invariably involved "pure love," somebody dying tragically, and hints of incest.

On Wednesday at 9 p.m., TBS will present the first episode of a three-part remake of "Red Suspicion," one of Yamaguchi's most famous dramas, first broadcast in 1975-76.

Satomi Ishihara plays Sachiko, a high-school student whose father, Shigeru (Takanori Jinnai), is a radiologist. Shigeru's sister from Okinawa comes to Tokyo to visit her brother for the first time in many years, but for some strange reason Sachiko is prevented from seeing her. Instead, Sachiko goes to her father's laboratory and is exposed to a huge amount of radiation during an accident. She is saved by Mitsuo (Tatsuya Fujiwara), who falls in love with her. Later, she develops leukemia and starts to suspect that maybe Shigeru is not her real father.

Popular TV comedians have to live with the reality that they could become obsolete at any moment. Hiroshi, who turned his impoverished, made-up lifestyle as a host club employee into a hit comedy routine, has skyrocketed to fame in the last year, with two volumes of his sharp one-liners on the best-seller lists. However, he is convinced that a year from now it will all be over.

Hiroshi is the main guest on this week's "Downtown DX" (NTV, Thursday, 10 p.m.), the talk-variety show hosted by the comedy duo Downtown, who will never have to worry about becoming obsolete. Hiroshi explains how his popularity has undermined his image of being bimbo (poor), thus making it more difficult to make fun of himself honestly. In a regular segment in which viewers send in messages claiming to have seen the guest in candid situations, Hiroshi has to explain why he was in a department store shopping for futons.

April 1 marked the 60th anniversary of the attack by U.S. forces on the village of Yomitan on Okinawa.

In the three-month battle for the island, 200,000 people died, half of them civilians. One-fourth of the residents of Yomitan lost their lives, many by their own hand or by the hand of loved ones since Japanese soldiers told villagers to commit suicide if the Americans overran the area. Some died of starvation or from malaria.

For many years, survivors of the attack refused to discuss their experience, but for the last 14 years testimony from 2,500 villagers has been collected and it will be presented Saturday at 9 p.m. on NHK-G in a special called "Returning to the Okinawan Battlefield."

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