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Sunday, Sept. 2, 2007

CHANNEL SURF

Environmental celebrity special, celebrity comeback special, Kurosawa classic adaptation

On Monday, TBS does its part in publicizing serious global issues with the 2-hour special "Mirai no Kodomotachi e Chikyu no Kiki wo Sukuu Okane no Tsukai-kata (How to Use Money to Solve Global Crises for Children of the Future)" at 9 p.m.

The Earth faces many serious problems, from environmental degradation and global warming to widespread poverty and overcrowding. When tackling these huge issues with money, it has been said "how much" is less important than "how."

The program sends celebrities to various areas of the world to research the best ways to spend money for solving local problems. Actress Aoi Miyazaki and her brother Masaru go to Bangladesh, where they meet a girl who does not attend school because she must work in the rice market every day to feed her family. The program also includes an appearance by Leonardo DiCaprio, who talks about global warming.

Superstar kyogen (comedy) performer Izumi Goto hasn't been in the public eye for a while. Several years ago he was everywhere, thanks mainly to a series of scandals and high-profile stunts involving not only his craft but also his crafty mother, whose desire for attention was just as strong as her son's. More than a year ago, however, Izumi's money problems caught up with him and he was slapped with a load of unpaid back taxes and penalties. He vanished.

He makes his first TV appearance since then this week on the variety talk show "Odoru Sanma Goten (Dancing Sanma Palace)" (Nihon TV, Tuesday, 7:58 p.m.), where he discusses his career as a practitioner of traditional theater arts and what he learned about the media and show business. For example, he now understands that the wide shows, which made so much of his problems, are basically just there to entertain people. "If I knew that earlier," he tells the host, comedian Sanma Akashiya, "then I wouldn't have gotten so worried." Sanma concurs, saying that years ago he got used to the media's label of him as "the sex maniac of the Showa era."

Next weekend, TV Asahi presents two new adaptations of classic movies by the late master Akira Kurosawa. On Saturday the network will air "Tengoku to Jigoku (Heaven and Hell)," which was originally based on a novel by the American thriller writer Ed McBain. Koichi Sato takes the Toshiro Mifune role of a rich industrialist whose chauffeur's son is kidnapped by criminals who mistakenly think the boy is the industrialist's son.

On Sunday, kabuki actor Matsumoto Koshiro stars in "Ikiru (To Live)" as a civil servant who is dying from cancer. Both dramas start at 9:03 p.m.



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