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Sunday, Aug. 14, 2011

CHANNEL SURF

Ken Watanabe and 9/11; 'Female District Prosector'; CM of the week: Monteroza

Ken Watanabe is one of the few Japanese actors who have been successful in Hollywood, and this week he hosts an NHK documentary, "Watanabe Ken: Amerika wo Yuku" ("Ken Watanabe Travels America"; NHK-G, Mon., 7:30 p.m.), about the upcoming 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Watanabe learns of the parallels between the attacks and World War II. Following Pearl Harbor, Japanese-Americans were rounded up and placed in camps. After 9/11, people of the Muslim faith, even American citizens, were often the victims of prejudice and violence. He learns about Norman Mineta, the Japanese-American lawmaker who was secretary of transportation when the attacks took place. Less than a month later, Mineta issued a directive prohibiting all airlines from carrying out racial profiling. And he wasn't the only Japanese-American who stood up for Muslims.

Currently in its seventh season, "Kyoto Chiken no Onna" ("The Female District Prosecutor of Kyoto"; Nihon TV, Thurs., 8 p.m.) stars Yuko Natori as a district prosecutor who is also a housewife and mother.

This week, a young prosecutor named Seto is transferred to Kyoto. In his first assignment, Seto succeeds in extracting a confession from a suspect in a rape case. Aya (Natori), however, has heard rumors that Seto uses violence during interrogations, and wonders if the confession is valid.

Meanwhile, she is put in charge of an assault case involving the rape suspect's older brother, and in order to secure an indictment she seeks the assistance of a hard-boiled cop-cum-Buddhist-priest named Narimasu (Susumu Terajima).

CM of the week: Monteroza

Two young salarymen, looking as if they'd just been through the worst day of their lives, walk down a narrow city street after dark. They pull into an izakaya (Japanese pub) and barely summon the energy to order two draft beers.

But as soon as they clink their mugs, they immediately brighten up, literally. Their skin turns gold and their hair blonde. The atmosphere in the room also changes. They are now covered in lights and with each kampai (cheers) more golden people join their party. Two young women, glowing, dance in the corner.

"The night becomes brighter with a toast," says the catch copy. The izakaya belongs to the Monteroza restaurant chain.



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