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Sunday, Aug. 9, 2009

Channel surf

As the 64th anniversary of Japan's surrender approaches, the special memorial programs about World War II come faster and thicker. This week's big event is a docudrama called "Saigo no Akagami Haitatsunin" (The Last Red Letter Deliveryman; TBS, Mon., 9 p.m.). "Red letter" refers to the draft notices received by men during the war. These were hand delivered by special deliverymen. It was considered a great honor to receive a call to service by the Imperial Army, and families would celebrate out in the open, but, understandably, many recipients and their loved ones secretly dreaded the arrival of such notices.

In the drama portion of the program, Hidetaka Yoshioka plays the deliveryman, who distributes draft notices in a small village in Shiga Prefecture. The documentary portion traces the fates of the men who received notices and then left for battle.

If you pay any attention to local news it would seem that Japan is suddenly overrun with illegal drugs. Every day a celebrity or group of college students is busted for marijuana or "stimulant drugs."

On Tuesday, TV Tokyo will air a two-hour special, mainly about the drug problem, on its occasional news documentary series "Kinkyu Document, Nippon no Shogeki Genba" (Urgent Document, Japan's Shocking Sites; 7 p.m.).

In the series reporters "infiltrate sensational places you don't see on the news" with hidden cameras. In this case, the cameras go on college campuses where they film students dealing in and taking illegal drugs. They also report on young addicts and the difficulties they have breaking their habits. Why do these young people start using? The reporters also go to places in Japan where marijuana is grown.

The program will also include a report about elderly people dying alone.

School's out, so what better way to entertain the kids than with a movie about high school students who wage war on the constabulary? On Wednesday, Nihon TV will broadcast the movie "Bokutachi to Chuzai-san no 700 Hi Senso" (The 700-day War Between Us and the Police; 7:58 p.m.).

Based on a popular "blog novel," this seishun (youth) comedy focuses on a gang of mischievous high school students led by the charismatic Mamachari (Hayato Ichihara), whose entire existence seems to be based on a desire to make the cops at his local koban (police box) miserable.

Then, one day, a new policeman (Kuranosuke Sasaki) is assigned to the koban, and he openly defies Mamachari's "genius schemes." In fact, he doesn't just crack down on the gang's activities, he gets revenge.



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