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Sunday, July 2, 2006

CHANNEL SURF

SMAP heartthrob Takuya Kimura returns in "Hero" on Fuji TV and more

Fuji TV usually has a lock on the Monday 9 p.m. time slot with whatever drama it decides to plug into it, and this summer seems no exception. SMAP heartthrob Takuya Kimura returns in "Hero" as prosecutor Kohei Kuryu, a role he first played in the series of the same name that ran in 2001.

Kuryu isn't your typical prosecutor. He was a bad apple in junior high school but eventually passed a high school equivalency test and later the bar exam. However, what really separates him from his ilk is his funky fashion sense and long brown hair.

In the second episode that airs this week, Kuryu has been transferred to Nijigaura, a small town in Yamaguchi Prefecture that hasn't seen a major crime in 11 years. However, right after he arrives a murder is committed, and the main suspect is a respected local businessman. Everyone in town thinks he's innocent except Kuryu, whose unorthodox investigation methods perplex not only the townspeople, but his colleagues as well.

More crime-fighting high jinks propel the drama on another new series, "PS-Rashomon" (TV Asahi, Wednesday, 9 p.m.). "PS" stands for "police story," though it isn't clear what "Rashomon" refers to.

Yoshino Kimura stars as Rumi, a policewoman whose husband, also a cop, was killed in the line of duty. Three years after the death, Rumi is transferred out of the traffic division to detective work in the eastern part of the city. Her new coworkers are an odd bunch, reflecting the comic book genesis of the series. Her section chief (Shiro Ito) moonlights by running an oden stand in front of the police station. Her partner (Shiro Sano) is deep in debt. And her main boss (Hiroshi Tachi) is a blunt taskmaster.

Rumi's first big case is a series of arsons.

Taro Okamoto, one of Japan's most famous artists, died in 1996 at the age of 84. He is known for his fantastic sculptures, the most famous of which is probably "Tower of the Sun," which was a centerpiece of the Osaka Expo '70.

For many years it was known that Okamoto had worked on a mural called "The Myth of Tomorrow," but it wasn't until 2003 that the work itself was discovered in Mexico. This week, NTV will air a special 2 1/2 hour program (Friday, 9 p.m.) commemorating the unveiling of the mural in Japan.

After the mural was discovered it was brought to Japan and since then has undergone extensive restoration. For the time being it will be displayed in the NTV facilities in Shiodome in Tokyo.

The program will trace the history of the mural, as well as Okamoto's career in general, using interviews and dramatizations. Miho Kanno will play Toshiko Okamoto, the mistress whom Taro adopted as his daughter because his wife wouldn't grant him a divorce.



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