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Sunday, April 1, 2007

Comedy interview variety show, Japan history cultural special, 'King Lear' modeled business drama

Life is a journey filled with questions, some of which the new variety show, "Megami no Hatena, (The Goddess of What is That)" (Nihon TV, Tuesday, 11:55 p.m.) will attempt to answer. These are not mind-twisting queries about the meaning of life or natural phenomena, but rather the kind of things that pop into your head while daydreaming.

In the inaugural show, the comedy duo Unjashp wonder why women who wear revealing clothing always say they hate to be looked at. Their method of discovery is quite unscientific: They go to Shibuya to interview women on the street, as well as boyfriends of these women if they happen to be available.

In addition, the twin comedy duo The Touch take their question -- which will remain a secret until air time -- all the way to Kyushu for an answer.

It is estimated that there are about 370,000 archaeological sites scattered throughout the Japanese archipelago, and every year about 10,000 of them are the subject of official or academic research excavations. In the past several years, these excavations have drawn the interest of average people, in particular baby boomers with a fascination for Japan's long history. Now, many archaeologists hold lectures and tours at the excavation sites for visitors. It has become a booming business.

NHK's new nine-part weekly series, "Historical Remains Watching" (NHK-E, Wednesday, 10 p.m.), is designed to appeal to the same kind of archaeological enthusiast, and because it is meant to be entertaining as well as educational, it aims to create a whole new audience. Every week, the program focuses on one excavation site in Western Japan. With each subsequent week, the emphasis will be on an earlier era. This week will focus on the capital city during the Heijokyo era of the 8th century, and future episodes will focus on the Asuka (6th century) and Kofun (4th century) eras before ending with the Yayoi era (c. 500 BC-200 AD).

On Friday and Saturday night at 9 p.m., Nihon TV will present separate drama specials based on the work of William Shakespeare. The word "based" is used rather loosely here.

"The King's Heart" (Friday) takes "King Lear" as its model. When a businessman falls ill he makes his three daughters an offer. Whichever one agrees to take care of him will inherit his chain of supermarkets. The two older daughters fight over which one will live with dad, but the younger daughter wants nothing to do with the competition.

"Romeo and Juliet" (Saturday) is about a female college student and an injured young man she meets on the street. They fall in love, not knowing that the girl's police detective father is in the midst of a manhunt to find the young man's physician father, who is wanted for murder.



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