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Sunday, Jan. 30, 2011
An unyielding minister, a superbartender; CM of the week: Yamato Transport
TBS stays on top of current events with "Watashi wa Kusshinai" ("I Won't Yield"; Mon., 9 p.m.), a dramatization of last year's arrest and prosecution of health ministry official Atsuko Muraki, who was accused of approving the fraudulent use of postal discounts for the disabled. She was exonerated and one of the prosecutors in the case admitted to tampering with evidence.
Based on reporting by Shoko Egawa, the drama renames Muraki Akiko as Nakai (Misako Tanaka), a 30-year ministry veteran who is the wife of another bureaucrat and the mother of two children. She lives a "simple, happy life that is destroyed" by ambitious law enforcement officials. The development of the plot focuses on how she was interrogated and the prosecutors' now discredited methodologies.
In the new drama series "Bartender" (TV Asahi, Fri., 11:15 p.m.), a saloon is a "getaway" where patrons can relieve the stress of everyday existence and unburden themselves to the bartender, a profession that, in the person of super cocktail mixer Sasakura (Masaki Aiba), takes on an almost metaphysical meaning.
In this week's premiere episode, magazine writer Mami Terashi (Shihori Kanjiya) goes to a hotel to cover a cocktail contest, where bartenders from all over Japan compete in mixing sublime drinks. Her main purpose is to see Sasakura, a legendary figure in the annals of bartending and the only Japanese person to ever win first prize in Europe. However, he fails to show up, and another bartender is crowned No. 1 instead.
Disappointed, she repairs to a restaurant and runs into none other than Sasakura himself.
CM of the week: Yamato Transport
In a series of spots for the home delivery service Yamato Unyu, the five members of the boy band Tokio dress up as Yamato deliverymen. The makeover is easy to accept since one of the themes of the group's long-running Nihon TV show, "The Tetsuwan Dash," is the dignity and excitement of productive labor, whether it be farming or operating heavy machinery. The thirty-something idols are presented as being familiar and vital members of the community, greeting old people and schoolchildren on the street, and making package delivery seem like one of the most important jobs in the economy.
It is important, mainly as a growing source of employment for people who can't find jobs in their chosen field. Yamato has other TV commercials featuring genuine delivery-persons who talk about the company's fleet of environmentally friendly hybrid vehicles and give lessons in traffic safety to elementary school students. More than promoting the company's services, the CMs seem like recruitment ads.