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Sunday, July 6, 2008
Dramas about a doomed escape attempt, sibling rivalries, and a homeless junior high student
One of the most infamous episodes of the Pacific War was the attempted escape by 1,100 Japanese prisoners of war from Australia's Camp Cowra on Aug. 5, 1944.
The escape was prompted by officers who arrived at the camp late in the war and were appalled by the fact that the soldiers already interned had not killed themselves yet.
To them, being prisoners was the ultimate shame, and the escape attempt was carried out not for the purpose of returning to Japan or the front lines, but for the purpose of being shot. More than 200 POWs died.
The incident is dramatized in "Ano Hi Bokura no Inochi wa Toiretto Pepa yori mo Karukatta (That Day Our Lives Were Lighter Than Toilet Paper)" (Nihon TV, Tuesday, 9 p.m.).
Before the arrival of Sgt. Kuroki (Sadayo Abe), the POWs of Camp Cowra are comfortable.
They play baseball and shogi (Japanese chess), have plenty to eat and are far from the death and destruction of war.
Kuroki tells the POWs that they have dishonored those Japanese who died for their county, and he comes up with a plan to redeem everyone by attempting a daring break out.
The POWs are told to vote on his plan by writing yes or no on a sheet of toilet paper.
The new drama series "Seigi no Mikata (Ally of Justice)" (Nihon TV, Wednesday, 10 p.m.) focuses on the relationship between two sisters.
Yoko (Mirai Shida), a first-year high-school student, has been the victim of her older sister, Makiko (Yu Yamada), since they were little girls.
Makiko treats Yoko as her personal servant, making her feel useless and stupid.
Yoko has tried to tell others that Makiko is evil, but the older girl is good at showing a benevolent face to the world, so no one believes Yoko.
Makiko becomes more demanding the older they get, even using Yoko to get boyfriends for her.
One morning, when Yoko leaves home for school, she sees Makiko talking to Yoko's boyfriend, who is there waiting for her.
Makiko has told him something embarrassing about Yoko, and Yoko can no longer stand it.
One of the biggest selling books of recent years is "Homeless Chugakusei" (Homeless Junior High School Student), a memoir by comedian Hiroshi Tamura that chronicles his difficult adolescence living in a public park while attending school after his family lost their house.
Tamura's story will be dramatized by Fuji TV on Saturday at 9 p.m.
Hiroshi (Tatsuya Kuroki) is a second year junior high school student.
One day he returns home from school to find all the furniture out on the street. His brother and sister are as dumbfounded as he is.
Their widowed father finally shows up and tells them they can't live there any more, and then he just walks away.