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Sunday, July 23, 2006

CHANNEL SURF

36th year of "Mito Komon" starts at TBS and more

Japan's longest-running TV drama series, 'Mito Komon' (TBS), will begin its 36th year Monday night at 8 p.m.

Actor Kotaro Satomi -- who made headlines recently on the U.S. amateur senior golf tour -- plays the legendary Edo era nobleman who wanders around with his retinue punishing bullies with his wisdom and official power.

The opening episode finds Mito Komon in an unusual situation, stuck at his home in Mito with nothing to do and no wrongs to right.

He receives a letter from his sister in Kanazawa who informs him that her grandson is to marry.

Mito sees an excuse to take a journey, but his sister tells him later that it will be a "simple wedding" with few guests.

Then, the mother of one of Mito's retainers receives an invitation to visit from a friend in Nikko, and Mito offers to accompany her. Of course, he has to bring the whole gang of retainers, which numbers five. As usual, they run into intrigue.

The Nikko local government office, it turns out, is rife with corruption and the citizens are suffering for it.

'Momotaro Zamurai," another historical drama series, this one about a gaudily dressed ronin samurai played by Hideki Takahashi, ran from 1976 to '81 for 258 episodes.

On Tuesday at 7 p.m., TV Asahi will present "New Momotaro Zamurai" starring Masahiro Takashima.

Momotaro is actually the nickname of Shinjiro, the son of a lord on the island of Shikoku. In order to avoid the inevitable fight for hereditary succession with his twin brother, as a boy Shinjiro is sent out of the area to Edo with a lady-in-waiting, Chiyo (Tamayo Nakamura), whom Shinjiro looks upon as his mother.

He is attracted to Oyo (Yasuko Tomita), the operator of a local gambling den, and divides his time between being an enforcer-for-hire and a layabout parasite.

This week's "Saturday Wide Theater" (TV Asahi, Saturday, 9 p.m.) presents the detective drama "Keishicho Tokuso Keiji no Tsuma (The Wife of the NPA Special Police Detective)." A woman's skeleton is found in the remote Jukai region of Shizuoka Prefecture, a notorious place for suicides. An autopsy determines that the woman was the ex-wife of Special Detective Sugimoto (Tomokazu Miura). The autopsy also finds that her skull was crushed, pointing to a possible murder. Sugimoto divorced his wife years ago when they grew apart following the death of their only daughter, and he has not been in touch with her. He visits the home of the president of a major home electronics maker who employed his ex-wife as a housekeeper. It turns out the president's wife fired her when she suspected her of having an affair with her husband.



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