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Sunday, June 24, 2007


Show-biz family drama, children's fantasy adventure, sexual harassment lawyers

The Takashimas are one of the most famous show-business families in Japan. Seventy-six year-old Tadao is a veteran film and stage actor; his wife, Hanayo Sumi, was once a star with the Takarazuka musical stage company; and sons Masahiro and Masanobu are fixtures in movies and on TV.

In 1998, Tadao started to realize he couldn't control certain motor functions. He stopped working and was later diagnosed with depression. Given the social stigma of depression in Japan, he tried to keep his condition secret from his sons, and only Sumi, who had to deal with his physical and mental limitations on a daily basis, knew about it.

This week, Nihon TV presents a special two-hour dramatization about the Takashimas' ordeal called "Utsu e no Fukushu (Revenge Against Depression)" (Tuesday, 9 p.m.). The drama is occasionally interrupted by interviews with all four members of the family.

Cross-cultural marketing synergy reaches new heights on this week's special hourlong installment of the animated series "Doraemon," which stars a cat from the future who uses his special powers to help an adolescent boy named Nobita.

On "Doraemon Ichi-jikan Kaizoku Special (Doraemon's One-Hour Pirate Special)" (Asahi, Friday, 7 p.m.), one of the characters, Suneo, shows off his prized possession: a pirate galleon in a bottle. Impressed, Nobita and his friends start talking about pirates. The little girl Shizuka asks Dorami — Doraemon's sister — to show them some real pirates with the help of one of her futuristic devices. The children watch a real pirate fight to save a group of children just like themselves. Dorami and Shizuka decide they want to go back in time to help.

The battle is joined by that famous Hollywood actor who has recently done more to boost the image of pirates than anyone else in the past 50 years.

On Saturday, NHK launches a six-part drama series called "Shin Machiben (New Town Lawyers)" (NHK-G, 9 p.m.), which is about three men who start to practice law after they turn 60.

Having finally received their licenses and opened their office for business, Tokunaga (Tetsuya Wataru) and his two associates are returning from a celebration when they hear a woman screaming on the train. She claims to have been sexually molested by another passenger. The three rookie lawyers manage to capture the alleged assailant and hand him over to the police.

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