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Sunday, Sept. 24, 2006

CHANNEL SURF

NHK's "Ongaku Idenshi," Nihon TV's "Diet Combat" and more

One of the most common questions asked of pop musicians is, Who are your influences? This question is the premise behind a new series on NHK, "Ongaku Idenshi" (NHK-G, Mon., 11 p.m.), which literally means "The Genes of Music." According to the show's producers, a musician's particular sensibility is more or less the result of all the music he has absorbed during his life.

This week, the subject is Kazufumi Miyazawa, the leader of The Boom, which debuted in 1989. Originally a ska group, The Boom eventually incorporated elements of Okinawan music, minyo (folk songs) and Latin rhythms into its unique form of J-pop, which was extremely popular in the early '90s, as evidenced by million-seller hits like "Shimauta" and "Kaze ni Naritai." Miyazawa has since become an internationally acclaimed solo artist, and is particularly popular in Central and South America.

During the program, Miyazawa talks about the artists who influenced him directly, and how their music helped him form his own sound.

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Programs on how to lose weight will never go out of style. They don't even have to be instructive in any sort of practical way. This Thursday at 7 p.m., Nihon TV presents a three-hour variety special called "Diet Combat," which puts a number of TV celebrities up to the challenge of losing weight using unusual methods.

All of the participants, who are set up in pairs, have been given one month to lose a designated amount of weight. Rakugo star Hayashiya Shozo and talent Tomochika team up to carry out a weight-loss program that entails drinking only liquids. Professional wrestler wannabe Koriki Choshu and manga artist Mitsuru Yaku embark on a diet that somehow involves purchases that can only be bought in 100-yen shops.

The most interesting duo is, in fact, not a duo at all. Since retired sumo wrestler Musashimaru weighs in at 239 kg, he qualifies as two people by himself. His mission: To lose 20 kg by means of a regimen of hula dancing.

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Every few years, Japan experiences an upsurge of interest in magicians, and the current prestidigitating superstar throughout the archipelago is Cyril, who is perhaps more famous for his dashing good looks than he is for his ambitious illusions.

Born in Los Angeles to a Japanese father and a French mother, Cyril started teaching himself magic tricks at the age of 10, and by the time he was 12 was already getting professional gigs. As a teen, he was a junior member of a group of magicians who worked at Hollywood's famed Magic Castle.

This week, Cyril is featured on a two-hour autumn special, "Magic Revolution" (Fuji, Sat., 7 p.m.), where he will introduce some new tricks to his ever-growing legion of Japanese fans.



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