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Sunday, Nov. 18, 2007

CHANNEL SURF

Divorce rate boom special, interviewed female entrepreneurs, dealing with lonely deaths

Divorce is the main topic on the "Megami no Antena Special (Antenna of the Goddess Special)" (Asahi, Monday, 7 p.m.). Hosts Shinsuke Shimada and Shin Murakami discuss the rise in the nation's divorce rate, particularly among older couples.

In many cases, the split is initiated by the wife and the program attempts to find out why that is. Do husbands even know their marriage is on the rocks? As an experiment, books about middle-age divorce are left lying around selected homes, and hidden cameras in those homes capture the reactions of husbands who come upon them by accident. Back in the studio, guests talk about how money is often at the root of divorce. Showa University lecturer Mariko Bando, who wrote the best-selling book, "The Dignity of Women," also appears and discusses her own theories about the divorce boom.

Shimada is also the host of the weekly quiz show "Sekai Baribari Baryu (World's Exciting Values)" (TBS, Wednesday, 10 p.m.), which this week looks at women entrepreneurs. "I am doing what I've always loved to do," explains one company president about her work. "As far as the money goes, it just comes in."

One of the guests is a former member of the Takarazuka musical theater company in the Kansai region. She runs a related business that sells costumes and props which are no longer used by the company. Another female company president runs a kimono store in Fukushima.

This week's installment of the NHK documentary show "Nippon no Genba (On Site in Japan)" (NHK-G, Thursday, 11 p.m.) is subtitled "Tengoku e Hikkoshi Tetsudaimasu (Help in Moving to Heaven)," and focuses on a company that handles the effects of people who have died alone.

This company specializes in cleaning the residences of people who die without families to collect their possessions. Many of these people live in apartments in urban areas. The company cleans the apartment and gathers up all the effects of the deceased. They then locate the nearest relative and if the relative does not want the effects, the company disposes of them itself.

They handle about 2,000 cases a year. Usually, the company is hired by landlords who don't know anything about the deceased. The program follows the company on several jobs in which they go into the apartment of the deceased. The camera lingers on the things these people leave behind — kitchen utensils, ashtrays, photo albums. In one instance the company comes across a stash of letters that the deceased wrote to a daughter but never mailed. In such a way, the program attempts to analyze how shut-ins relate not only to their extended family, but to society in general.



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