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Sunday, March 2, 2008

CHANNEL SURF

Father-daughter daytime soap opera, celebrity charity projects, Korean history special

The entire premise of the daytime soap opera "Mikon Roku-Shimai Part 2 (Six Unmarried Sisters Part 2)" (TBS, Monday-Friday, 1:30 p.m.) is right there in the title. The series is about a widower, Matsutaro (Shinyo Owada), who runs a traditional Japanese confectionery. He has six daughters who range in age from 19 to 40. His dream, of course, is to see all of his girls happily married, but by the end of the first series in 2006, none were. However, daughter No. 2, Futaba (Emi Hashino), had left to join her fiancee, who had just moved to the United States, so there was at least hope for her.

At the beginning of Part 2, which starts Monday and will continue on a daily basis for the next six weeks, fourth daughter Shimako is actually getting married, and obviously Matsutaro is ecstatic. However, during the reception, who should show up unexpectedly but Futaba, and in a soiled and ruined wedding dress, no less.

Japanese celebrities are not renowned for voluntarily taking on charity projects or getting involved in international relief efforts, especially if the related issue has any controversy attached to it. Actress Norika Fujiwara, however, has been actively taking part in efforts to establish educational facilities for children in Cambodia, and has done a lot of work with Afghan refugees.

Fujiwara will be the host for "Ashita no tame ni . . . ima (For the Benefit of Tomorrow . . . Now)" (TBS, Mon., 9 p.m.), a special documentary omnibus that will follow other celebrities as they embark on assignments with Japanese volunteers.

Former Yakult Swallows catcher/manager Atsuya Furuta joins seven college students in a truck as they travel the length of Japan picking up litter. Actress Ai Kato goes to the African country of Bukina Faso with a group of Japanese children who have built a special vehicle made out of bicycles to help local children carry water to their village. And actor Gaku Hamada helps five Japanese student teachers in Mindanao build a preschool for children who are unable to attend regular school because they are too poor.

The kingdom of Silla is explored on "Sekai Isan — Keishu Rekishi Chiku (World Assets — Gyeongju Historical Area)" (TBS, Mar. 9, 11:30 p.m.). "Keishu" is the Japanese pronunciation of Gyeongju, a city on the coast of North Gyeongsang Province in South Korea. This area contains ancient tombs and temples that were added to UNESCO's World Heritage List in 1995.

The city was also once the center of the Silla kingdom, which dominated the Korean Peninsula for about a thousand years starting in 57 B.C.

The program looks at the well-preserved tombs and the life of Queen Seondeoh, who ruled from 632 to 647 A.D.



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