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Sunday, March 21, 2010

CHANNEL SURF

Profile of Rakuten founder Hiroshi Mikitani; CM of the week: Nemurete'masu ka?

This week's edition of the business-related nonfiction series "Rubicon no Ketsudan" (The Rubicon Decision; TV Tokyo, Thurs., 10 p.m.) covers the rise and rise of Hiroshi Mikitani, the man behind the so-called Internet Mall, Rakuten Ichiba, and, according to Forbes magazine, the sixth richest man in Japan.

Mikitani quit his job at a major Japanese bank in 1995 and started looking at various types of new business models. He hit on the idea of Rakuten Ichiba because he wanted to make an Internet retail site that would appeal to people who didn't have much practical knowledge of computers.

Mikitani's main problem in getting his enterprise off the ground was convincing merchandisers and wholesalers to work with him. His story is told through a mix of drama and documentary. B eat Takeshi, who just won a prestigious award from the French government for his filmmaking career, will again host a group of people from different countries on the special two-hour discussion show "Kinkyu Sekai Summit: Takeshi Japan 2" (Emergency World Summit: Takeshi Japan 2; TV Asahi, Fri., 8 p.m.).

Takeshi has assembled these guests to help him come up with ways of successfully "rebuilding Japan" and helping the country solve its current economic crisis.

A group of Chinese tell him they believe many of Japan's problems can be solved by abandoning certain biases that the Japanese hold toward China. People from Sweden tell him about their country's welfare system, and insist that Japanese people need to pay higher taxes if they want to keep their economy stable. The French point to their high birthrate as a shining example, and advocate a different concept of marriage than the one promoted in Japan.

CM of the week

Nemurete'masu ka?: A middle aged man stands in his living room yawning and tying his tie, getting ready to go to work. He spies his teenage daughter at the dining table checking her mobile phone and wonders to himself why he doesn't know her e-mail address or any of her friends or even if she has a boyfriend.

The daughter breaks into his reverie. "I know. You haven't slept lately, have you," she says, her voice heavy with concern. A narrator says if you haven't slept for more than two weeks you should call a doctor.

Though the word "depression" isn't mentioned in this public service ad sponsored by the Cabinet Office, it's part of the government's monthlong anti-suicide campaign. Statistically, the highest number of suicides among middle-aged men is recorded in March. Insomnia is a symptom of depression, and the ad's message seems to be that the man's daughter knows more about him than he knows about her — or himself.



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