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Sunday, March 12, 2006

CHANNEL SURF

Business in India the focus of TV Tokyo's "Dawn of Gaia" and more

NHK has done an excellent job of providing in-depth coverage of China's economic situation for the past 20 years, but, for some reason, that other potential Asian powerhouse, India, has been overlooked by the Japanese media.

India is now the home to about a billion people, and in the last 10 years the country's economy has changed in remarkable ways. By the year 2050, economists predict it will boast the second biggest economy in the world, after China.

This week, the business documentary program "Dawn of Gaia" (TV Tokyo, Tuesday, 10 p.m.) looks at several Japanese companies that are now doing full-scale manufacturing business in India, including an automaker who entered the Indian market early and is now reaping the benefits; and a home-appliance maker who is adapting to the Indian way of doing business.


The closest equivalent to fairy tales in Japanese literature is probably the anthology of folk stories called "Otogi-zoshi."

One of the most famous stories in this collection is "Issun Boshi," which will be recreated in animated form on "Nihon no Mukashi-banashi" (Japanese Old Stories; TBS, Wednesday, 6:55 p.m.).

An elderly, childless couple go to their local shrine to pray for a son, a wish that is miraculously granted.

However, the boy is very small ("issun" is a measurement equal to about 3 cm) and he never grows. But his parents love him all the same.

Issun Boshi dreams of becoming a samurai, and against his parents' wishes he goes to Kyoto, traveling in a rice bowl on the river, using chopsticks as oars.

In the capital, he becomes the servant of an important official, and when a monster comes to capture young women, Issun Boshi cleverly defeats him.


A more modern story is "Ai to Shi wo Mitsumete (Staring at Love and Death)," but it is one that is probably more famous than "Issun Boshi."

Based on a true story, the original non-fiction book was made into a major motion picture in the 1960s as well as a television series. It is considered the model for the current "pure love" boom.

This week, TV Asahi presents a new two-part version of the story (March 18 and 19 at 9 p.m.) starring Tsuyoshi Kusanagi as Minoru and Ryoko Hirosue as Michiko, who meet in a hospital where Michiko is being treated for a rare and fatal disease. They fall in love, but Minoru has to go away.

Later, Michiko learns that she will have to have the left half of her face removed, and, contemplating suicide, tells Minoru in a letter to forget about her. But he convinces her to live, and after her operation their love just grows stronger. Invested with a newfound appreciation for life, Michiko becomes an aide in the hospital where she remains a patient.



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