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Sunday, Nov. 15, 2009

CHANNEL SURF

Father-and-son drama, hommage to Date Masumune and a mysterious TV mystery

TBS's drama special, "Chichi yo, Anata wa erakatta — 1969-nen no oyaji to boku" (Dad! You were great: Father and me in 1969; Mon., 9 p.m.), makes a clever play for two generations of TV viewers by featuring Shigeaki Kato of the idol group News in a time travel story that sends him to 1969, where he meets his father as a young man.

Like a lot of teens, Masaru (Kato) doesn't get along with his boomer father, Toshikazu (Toshiyuki Nishida). They seem to fight about everything, and one night, after a particularly heated argument over Masaru's job, the boy leaves the house in a huff despite the tearful pleas of his mother (Pinko Izumi).

Masaru ends up on a roof, and as he stares at the stars a crow swoops down. He ducks and loses his balance, falling to the ground. When he comes to, he is surrounded by a crowd of people who are strangely dressed that tell him he was saved by a young man named Toshikazu . . .

Thanks mainly to NHK's Sunday night historical drama, young women have become increasingly interested in Japanese premodern history. In surveys, the person who consistently tops lists of their favorite historical figures is Date Masumune, the Tohoku region daimyo (lord) who founded the city of Sendai in the early 17th century.

Masumune is the subject of this week's installment of "Rekishi Hiwa Historia" (Historical Secrets Historia; NHK-G, Wed., 10 p.m.). Young women tend to like Masumune because of his reputation as a decisive leader, not to mention his cool image, exemplified by a dashing eye patch and all-black armor.

However, the program paints a different picture. After Masumune rose to power, his time was constantly occupied with crisis management. It took him forever to carry out his goals because there was always a new problem that demanded his attention. Consequently, he didn't accomplish as much as he wanted to.

Usually, one can tell a lot about a Japanese TV mystery by its title, which is why the TV Asahi drama, "Aiken ga abaku furin shijuso" (The Immoral Instrumental Quartet Revealed by the Pet Dog; Sat., 9 p.m.), sounds so intriguing.

The publicized synopsis, however, is less compelling. Noriyuki Higashiyama plays police inspector Munesue, who is investigating the death of the editor of a small magazine that specializes in uncovering political and corporate corruption. During the investigation, Munesue and his partner accidentally encounter a junior high school girl named Yukari who is being bullied by a classmate and they help her out. A few days later, the bully is found dead and Yukari is arrested as a suspect.

Apparently, you'll have to tune in to find out about the dog and the immoral instrumental quartet.



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