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Sunday, Dec. 9, 2007


Police-interrogation drama, obscure comedian jokester, actor-singer tribute

The controversial practice of closed police interrogations gets the TV drama treatment on the two-hour mystery "Yoru no Owaru Toki (When the Night Ends)" (TBS, Monday, 9 p.m.). After the naked body of Detective Tokumochi of the Fujimi Police Department is found, a childhood friend named Sekiguchi is arrested for his murder. Tokumochi had been investigating Sekiguchi for the blackmail of a prominent actor, and while Sekiguchi admits to the extortion charge, he denies killing his old friend.

Detective Sugai (Goro Kishitani) finds the case frustrating, since he isn't satisfied with the interrogation methods his department used on Sekiguchi. Things get even more complicated when he starts seeing a woman named Chie (Kimiko Yo), the wife of a man who is about to be released from prison. Chie tells Sugai that her husband heard something very interesting about Tokumochi's murder while he was in jail.

Comedian Yoshio Kojima is this year's acknowledged overnight sensation who will probably be gone by this time next year. However, for the moment, his routine of following one-line jokes with the phrase "sonna no kankei nai (who gives a damn)," while dressed in only a Speedo and pumping his arm and leg in a curious piston fashion, has captured the imagination of people all over the world thanks to YouTube.

Kojima will be the guest on "Downtown DX" (Nihon TV, Thursday, 10:35 p.m.), where the comedy duo Downtown will find out more about his background and opinions. They'll discover that those tiny briefs cost about ¥5,000 a pair; that is father once ran for political office and lost; that his mother is "naturally senile," but in a nice way; and that he, in fact, doesn't expect to be around this same time next year.

Also on the program is another ippatsu-gei (one-trick pony) comedian, Jo He Ryeon from South Korea. The two will compare methodologies.

NHK will mark the 20th anniversary of the death of actor-singer Yujiro Ishihara with the 90-minute special "Yu-san e Niju-nenme no Rabu Reta (20th Year Love Letter to Yu-san)" (NHK-G, Friday, 10 p.m.). Ishihara was probably the most beloved show-business celebrity of the postwar era, and his movies and songs remain immensely popular.

The special presents a portrait of Ishihara, who was also the younger brother of current Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, using interviews that provide information and anecdotes never before revealed. The core of the show is a conversation with Yujiro's widow, Makiko, who talks about her late husband's glory and infamy, his financial troubles following the failure of some movies he produced, his reluctance to do television, and his chronic health problems.

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