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Sunday, Feb. 20, 2011
Secret envoy docudrama; flash mob challenge; CM of the Week: Food Action Nippon
After decades of official denials from the Foreign Ministry, last year it was revealed that the Japanese government made a secret pact with the United States to allow the American military to bring nuclear weapons into Okinawa after the islands were returned to Japan in 1972.
One of the men who helped broker this deal was Kei Wakaizumi, who is the subject of the docudrama
"Sori no Misshi" ("The Prime Minister's Secret Envoy"; TBS, Mon., 9 p.m.). Wakaizumi was the main negotiator for the return of Okinawa in the 1960s, and afterward he was consumed by guilt, believing he had betrayed the people of Okinawa.
He quit the Foreign Ministry and devoted the rest of his life to scholarship, but he could never shake the feeling of regret. In 1994, he sent a letter to the governor of Okinawa at the time expressing remorse. He then attempted suicide in front of an Okinawan war memorial. He survived, but two years later, after being diagnosed with cancer, he finally succeeded in taking his own life.
In a bid to save on production budgets, variety shows are becoming more dependent on content they can glean from the Internet. The TV Tokyo special "Sen-nin ga Idomu" ("One Thousand People Take Up the Challenge"; Fri., 7 p.m.) presents flash mobs and other large-group phenomena as the basis for entertainment.
Among the "challenges" reported are various instances of dancers gathering in public spaces and then simultaneously breaking into choreographed Michael Jackson routines, which are, of course, caught on video.
Some group activities are much more involved. A team of 100 Ferrari race cars re-creates a game of Tetris on a race track, and a large group of musicians utilize special applications on their iPads to play a full orchestral piece comprising all the instrumental parts.
CM of the week: Food Action Nippon
Despite his adopted Western moniker and idiosyncratic fashion sense, media gadfly Terry Ito is one of Japan's fiercest advocates for traditional culture, so it's not surprising to see him sporting an apron and chef's toque in Food Action Nippon's PR commercials for komeko , or rice flour. In one ad, Ito uses rice flour as coating for agemono (deep-fried foods). In another, he mixes milk with rice flour to make a white base for stew. Reading the recipe beforehand he finds it difficult to believe it's "so easy," but it is, and it's also "delicious."
Food Action Nippon, which promotes domestically produced food, wants consumers to use flour made from domestic rice instead of from wheat, almost all of which is imported. But what the Ito ads don't mention is that rice flour is twice as expensive as wheat flour.