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Sunday, Sep. 4, 2011

CHANNEL SURF

Sakurai in "Kamisama no Karute"; Japan's smartest high school students; CM of the week: Takasu Clinic

Sho Sakurai of the idol group Arashi can currently be seen playing a physician in the theatrical film "Kamisama no Karute" ("God's Medical Chart") alongside Aoi Miyazaki. Both can also be seen in the ongoing TV commercial series for supplemental medical insurance provider Aflac, alongside a CGI duck and cat.

Sakurai obviously takes his representation of the medical profession seriously, since he will be the guide on NHK's documentary "Sakurai Sho no Ima Soko ni Iru Hitobito" ("Sho Sakurai's People Who are There Now"; NHK-E, Wed., 6:55 p.m.), where he accompanies rural doctors in Hiroshima and Hokkaido on their rounds and discovers the special challenges of "regional medical care."

Japanese students used to be the envy of the world, especially in the fields of math and science. Not anymore. But things may be improving, and the purpose of "31-kai Kokosei Kuizu" ("The 31st High School Student Quiz"; Nippon TV, Fri., 9 p.m.) is to find out if they are. The quiz aims to locate the smartest high school kids in Japan based on prefecture and school. The preliminary rounds, which cover all the basic high school subjects, including history and politics, are being held in 28 separate locations: a new record. There is also a special online competition to narrow the field to 52 schools, which will then compete for the Grand Prize.

The hosts for the quiz are 23-year-old actress-model Nana Eikura and world-renowned brain scientist Kenichiro Mogi.

CM of the week: Takasu Clinic

Dr. Katsuya Takasu, the head of leading cosmetic surgery Takasu Clinic, sports expensive tinted glasses and a devil-may-care attitude in ads for his business. Looking like a jet-setter from the 1980s, he zooms over the high-rises of Dubai in a helicopter with local businesspeople while hyperactive pop music plays on the soundtrack. They chat animatedly in various settings, though we can't tell about what. A new clinic he's opening in the Middle Eastern country? The market for face-lifts?

Former TV personality Sachiko Nomura, the wife of baseball star Katsuya Nomura, is there too. Obviously, viewers need a celebrity to identify with, but Nomura seems to be the beneficiary of creative video enhancement rather than antiaging treatments. Dr. Takasu, on the other hand, looks his age — and his income.



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