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Sunday, Aug. 13, 2006
NHK's "Nihon to Ta-ttakatta Nikkeijin," Fuji's "Unbelievable" and more
In commemoration of the Aug. 15, 1945 Japan surrender in the Pacific War, NHK is presenting a documentary about the Japanese-American interpreters who worked with the American military during and after World War II.
"Nihon to Ta-ttakatta Nikkeijin (Japanese-Americans Who Fought Against Japan)" (BS1, Monday, 10:10 p.m.) focuses on Harry Fukuhara, who moved from Japan with his family to California before WWII.
When his father died, his mother and brother moved back to Japan while Harry remained to continue his education. He was there when the war broke out in 1941.
Fukuhara's mother and brother were killed in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, while Fukuhara himself became one of the 6,000 or so Japanese and Japanese-Americans who translated intercepted documents and messages during the war, handled Japanese POWs, and helped the American occupation. Fukuhara, for instance, was instrumental in helping establish the Keisa-tsu Yobitai, which eventually morphed into the Japan Self-Defense Force. Much of the information in the documentary is new because until recently the situation surrounding Japanese interpreters was considered classified by the U.S. government.
On Tuesday at 9 p.m., Nihon TV presents "Nisen no Koji no Haha (The Mother of 2,000 Orphans)," an original dramatization of the life of Miki Sawada, the woman who founded the Elizabeth Sanders Home in 1948.
Sawada (Keiko Matsuzaka) was born to a well-to-do family and prior to the war married a diplomat. Greatly disillusioned by the war, she became very concerned with the fate of mixed-blood orphans in its aftermath. These children were the results of fraternization between Japanese women and American GIs, and because neither the Japanese authorities nor the American occupation wanted to acknowledge them, those that weren't killed right after they were born were abandoned.
Sawada established the Sanders Home, named after an English patroness, in Oiso for mixed-blood children against the wishes of her husband and with great resistance from the Americans. Such resistance made it very difficult to raise money for food and clothing, but Sawada persisted.
The Fuji TV variety show "Unbelievable" (Thursday, 7:57 p.m.) usually presents dramatizations of weird stories related to true crime or occultlike happenings. This week, however, the show promises to blow the lid on a real terrorist plot against the 1996 Atlanta Olympics that was foiled by police. According to the producers, the details have never been revealed before.
Also on the show is the heartwarming story of a teacher at a school for the blind who helped turn her charges into a respected music ensemble.