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Sunday, June 18, 2006

CHANNEL SURF

Kanjani 8 hosts "Suka*J" on TV Tokyo, Nihon TV's "Tetsuwan Dash" and more

Always on the lookout for new variety show ideas, TV Asahi experiments with the idea of mathematical probability.

The fifth edition of "Kakuritsu Kensho: Unmei no Suji (Probability Verification)" will be aired Monday at 7 p.m. as a two-hour special.

The premise is the influences that certain decisions have on the rest of our lives. However, this being a variety show, the subjects are the usual comedians and ta-rento, and so the central question is always who will still be in show business five or 10 years from now. Using questionnaire surveys of TV Asahi staff and others, the program will attempt to calculate the chances of veteran tarento Ai Iijima marrying a rich foreigner someday, among other segments.

There's no escaping Johnny's Jimusho, the tarento agency that handles SMAP and Tokio and whose cuddly male charges are so ubiquitous that you can't get through an hour of commercial TV without seeing two or three of them. The latest success of Johnny's is Kanjani 8, which is short for Kansai Johnny's. The "8" refers to its eight members, all of whom were in different Johnny's groups attached to the Kansai wing of the company. Agency President Johnny Kitagawa reportedly saw the eight members collaborating in a special performance and liked what he saw, so he created Kanjani 8. (In Japanese the numeral is positioned on its side so that it looks like the symbol for infinity). The group made history of sorts when they had a hit with the first enka song ever released by a Johnny's act.

On Tuesday nights, Kanjani 8 hosts "Suka*J" (TV Tokyo, 12:12 a.m.), a talk show where the young men drink, eat, and chat with a big-name star. This week's guest is 50-year-old Kohei Otomo, better known as the hard-boiled rock singer Hound Dog, who will talk about his dream of once becoming a comedian.

Boy band Tokio will attempt to produce textiles from scratch on their long-running show "Tetsuwan Dash" (Nihon TV, Sunday, June 25, 6:55 p.m.).

In 2004 they grew cotton on land near their isolated farmhouse, Dash Village, and used the raw material to line the insides of traditional hanten coats.

They had some cotton bolls left over, so this week, with the help of their associate Marisa, a student from Peru studying Japanese agriculture, they will spin the bolls into thread, dye the thread with natural materials found on their land, and then weave the thread into fabric to make a flag for Dash Village.



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