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Sunday, Jan. 29, 2006

CHANNEL SURF

Nihon TV dramatizes Harutoshi Fukui's best-selling novel "Sengoku Jietai" and more

On Jan. 31 and Feb. 7 at 9 p.m., Nihon TV will present a two-part dramatization of Harutoshi Fukui's best-selling fantasy novel "Sengoku Jietai (Warring Nations Self-Defense Forces)," which was adapted as a big-budget movie last year.

Two groups of Ground Self-Defense Force troops comprising 26 soldiers are on their way to the foot of Mount Fuji for training exercises when they somehow fall into a time slip and find themselves on the edge of Lake Biwa 400 years in the past.

One group sends out scouts to gather information, and they find that they are, in fact, about to witness the historical Battle of Sekigahara between the forces of the shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu, and those of Ishida Mitsu-nari.

Tokugawa, noticing that the GSDF guys have big weapons, asks their leader if he'd like to help him out.


This week, NHK's historical documentary series, "The Time History Changed" (NHK-G, Wednesday, 9:15 p.m.), charts the genesis of Japan's first newspaper.

The Kaigai Shimbun was founded in the mid-19th century in Yokohama by Joseph Hiko, who, like the more famous John Manjiro, was rescued by an American ship in the Pacific Ocean.

Born in Hyogo Prefecture to a family of fishermen, Hiko was only 13 when his boat capsized.

The Americans brought him to San Francisco where he was educated. Nine years later he returned to Japan.

Believing that Japanese people needed to change their way of thinking if they were to successfully join the modern world, he established a newspaper.


In the new drama series "Gachibaka" (TBS, Thursday, 10 p.m.), Ka-tsunori Takahashi plays Tetta Gondo, a former juvenile delinquent who now teaches in high school.

Gondo's dream was to become a professional boxer, and he fought his way to the top. However, on the eve of a championship bout some friends of his are threatened by yakuza thugs who want their land. Rushing to their rescue, Gondo beats up a crooked politician who is involved in the eviction and is subsequently banned from boxing.

Over the next 10 years he alternates part-time jobs with night school, eventually earning a teaching license and securing a job at a private high school, where he is given a class of unruly students.

In episode three, which airs this week, a female student is suspended when the school finds out she's working part-time. The principal threatens her with expulsion if she's caught doing it again. Gondo later sees her working as a hostess at a cabaret club and tries to persuade her to quit before the school finds out, but he also notices that the club is patronized by some of his colleagues.



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