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Sunday, Feb. 21, 2010
Secret history of Takiji Kobayasshi; a detective's all-seeing eye; CM of the week: Leopalace 21
Since it was reprinted in 2008, the novella "Kanikosen" (The Factory Ship) has sold 500,000 copies. Originally published in 1929 by proletarian writer Takiji Kobayashi, the story was rediscovered by the current generation of young people who have tried to enter the workforce and, in many cases, failed to find fulfilling jobs. It describes a group of men working on a crab cannery ship in the 1920s who, broken by harsh working conditions, rebel against their superiors.
Kobayashi's life is explained on "Rekishi Hiwa Historia" (Secret History Historia; NHK-G, Wed., 10 p.m.). Born in 1903, he became the most celebrated "people's writer" of his time and paid dearly for it. A member of the Communist Party, he was repeatedly arrested by the Special Police, whose job was to stamp out resistance to authority. He died in police custody in 1933 at the age of 29 after being tortured.
After his older brother is killed, junior high school student Ainosuke (Ryosuke Yamada) receives his left cornea in a transplant operation. Ainosuke's brother was an infamous "criminal planner," meaning a mastermind of illegal activities for various underworld groups.
After the operation, Ainosuke discovers that his left eye can now see things he never noticed before. In particular, he can understand conspiracies and the underlying logic to complex situations.
In episode 6 of "Hidari-me Tantei Eye" (Left-eye Detective Eye; Nihon TV, Sat., 9 p.m.), Ainosuke has confessed to the police his newfound ability which he somehow inherited from his brother. They ask him to help solve a series of indiscriminate killings. An anonymous caller has reported that a bomb has been planted in a department store, and Ainosuke tries to find it.
CM of the week
Leopalace 21: Samurai actor Ken Matsudaira, dressed in a yellow kimono and geta (wooden sandals), is sweeping the street in a residential neighborhood. A young woman passes, as well as a young man in a suit. To each Matsudaira asks, "Looking for someplace to live?" They ignore him. A garbage truck almost runs him over, and the camera shows the name of the bus stop: Bakada Daigaku, or Silly University.
Matsudaira is impersonating Old Man Rerere, the scatterbrained neighbor in Fujio Akatsuka's 1960s comic "Tensai Bakabon" (Genius Bakabon), about a comically dysfunctional family that many people compare to "The Simpsons."
Old Man Rerere is always sweeping and asking the same moronic question: "Going out?" Leopalace 21, which rents out furnished apartments for short periods, adopts Rerere because of his name (Rerereopalace) and alters his tag line. Apparently, the company caters to students of Bakada Daigaku.