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Sunday, May 20, 2007
Non-profit organization special, Ken Watanabe drama special and family mini-series
Up until the time he was arrested, Livedoor President Takafumi Horie was considered the standard-bearer for the new spirit of entrepreneurship in Japan. Since the arrest and the attendant media scrutiny, the idea of venture businesses has changed.
These changes are discussed on TV Tokyo's business-oriented series "Gaia no Yoake" (The Dawn of Gaia; Tues., 10 p.m.). The new trend in venture businesses leans away from money-making schemes and toward social entrepreneurship, whose aim is to contribute something to society. The difference between this new model of social responsibility and the old one is that the old one was mainly based on a volunteer spirit, while the new one is run like a business, even if it's in the form of a nonprofit organization.
The program looks at several social entrepreneurs, including one 27-year-old former IT venture capitalist who is now the president of an NPO that provides day-care services for chronically ill children, a specialized need that even the government hasn't addressed.
Ken Watanabe, Hollywood's favorite Japanese actor at the moment, plays against type in the original two-hour drama, "Hoshi Hitotsu no Yoru" (A Night of One Star; Fuji, Fri., 9 p.m.), as a concert hall custodian named Nonoyama.
One night after a performance, Nonoyama is cleaning the auditorium when he finds a man's coat with 500,000 yen in cash and an envelope. He brings the coat and the money to the address on the envelope. The owner, a man named Taiki (Hiroshi Tamaki), is a day trader who didn't really notice that he was missing all that money. When he offers Nonoyama 200,000 yen as a reward, the custodian says, "Don't insult me," and walks away.
Taiki spends all day in front of the computer and has almost no human contact. He can't stop thinking about Nonoyama, whom he recognizes as a fellow loner. The next day he goes to the concert hall to seek him out, and he later discovers why Nonoyama has cut himself off from society.
Popular playwright Ai Nagai has adapted her theater piece, "Konnichiwa Kasan (Hello, Mother)," into a multipart television drama that will air on NHK-G every Saturday night at 9 p.m. for the next four weeks. The first part airs on May 26.
Mitsuru Hirata plays Akio, who visits his mother (Haruo Kato) for the first time in two years. He's surprised to see how much she's changed: dyed hair, youthful clothing, a job as a volunteer, and even a boyfriend.
Mitsuru doesn't like the change, but he has other things to worry about. The morning after he arrives at his mother's home, an employee at the company where he is in charge of restructuring, tracks him down and begs not to be laid off. It just so happens that his mother's work colleagues are visiting at the same time.