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Sunday, May 28, 2006

CHANNEL SURF

Look back on the Vietnam War in NHK's "The Time That Moved History" and more

More than 30 years after the end of the Vietnam War, Americans are still debating whether or not it was right to intervene in a civil conflict that itself was a product of someone else's (i.e., France) colonial adventure.

For those who still believe that America "lost" the war because the American people lost the will to fight it, the main villain was the American media.

Conversely, for those who believe America was wrong to be in Vietnam, the media were heroes.

This week, NHK's history program "The Time That Moved History" (NHK-G, Wednesday, 10 p.m.) looks at the American press coverage of the war and its role in turning the U.S. public against its involvement.

The special discusses how the real situation on the ground in Vietnam was reported by frontline journalists like David Halberstam and Neil Sheehan, who showed that the official, optimistic reports by the government were lies.

Eventually, even mainstream journalists like Walter Cronkite had to report publicly that the war wasn't going as well as U.S. leaders said it was.

The internationally respected art-house director Shinji Aoyama ("Eureka," "Desert Moon") lowered his sights slightly for the 2004 theatrical film, "Lakeside Murder Case," based on a novel by Keigo Higashino and airing this Friday on "Kinyo Entertainment" (Fuji, 9 p.m.).

Part mystery, part social satire, the story involves three families who rent a summer house on a lake. All three are desperate for their elementary school-age kids to get into a high-powered junior high school, and they hire a tutor to drill the kids so that they can pass the difficult entrance examination.

This hermetic idyll is interrupted by the unexpected arrival of the mistress of one of the fathers. The next day, the woman's corpse is found. Murder. The parents panic and struggle to come up with a way of disposing of the body without anyone finding out, since a scandal would ruin their kids' chances of getting into that school.

This week, TBS's world travel quiz show, "Sekai Fushigi Hakken (World Mysteries)" (Saturday, 9 p.m.), goes to Tahiti, where it is believed most of the Polynesian peoples of the South Pacific originated.

Historians think that more than 2,000 years ago, a group of explorers from the Asian mainland traveled the South Pacific, going from island to island until they landed on Tahiti. There, they established a base where Polynesian culture developed and flourished. From there, subsequent generations of travelers sailed out and settled other islands, including Hawaii and New Zealand. The show's "mystery hunter" goes to the island of Huahine, where the people maintain a traditional Polynesian lifestyle.



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