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Sunday, Dec. 11, 2011
'Chushingura' in a wide-show style; Watanabe/Minami's TV drama debut; CM of the week: Saikyo Jump
Dec. 14 is a special day in Japan. On that date in 1702, the 47 retainers of the Lord of Ako exacted revenge on Kira Kozuke-no-suke, the Edo official who caused their lord's death a year earlier. This story is known popularly as "Chushingura" and has been adapted hundreds of times in various forms.
To commemorate the day, TBS presents "Seiki no Wide Show" ("Century Wide Show"; Wed., 8:54 p.m.), which presents the famous story in "wide show" format, with reporters and film crews going "back in time" to interview the principals. Many celebrity guests in the studio are shocked to learn new details of the saga. The exception is former child actor Kazuki Enari, who boasts that he knows everything about the story, including the names of all 47 samurai.
Hollywood actor Ken Watanabe appears with his wife, Kaho Minami, for the first time in a TV drama since they were married. In "Ai, Inochi" ("Love, Life"; TV Asahi, Sat., 9 p.m.), Watanabe plays a man named Hirayama, who has lived a fast life without much concern for other people. Then, like Watanabe himself some years ago, Hirayama is diagnosed with leukemia. He decides to dedicate his existence to helping people and establishes a volunteer assistance program in the Kabukicho area of Shinjuku.
But some habits die hard, and when he meets a woman named Yoko (Hiromi Nagasaku), he is attracted to her. On their way to a hotel he is suddenly abducted by three men. Yoko, a journalist, looks through Hirayama's belongings and finds his home address, which is in Kobe. She goes to the address and there meets his wife, Yasue (Minami).
CM of the week
Saikyo Jump: Olympic gold medalist Koji Murofushi stands in the middle of an empty stadium warming up for the hammer throw. Cut to a young boy standing in the same place, reading an issue of the comic book Saikyo Jump. Cut back to Murofushi, swinging the hammer around and around and finally letting loose with a loud cry. The boy also spins around and throws the comic while letting out a cry.
It's not clear what the point of the ad is, though according to Murofoshi's Facebook page it was filmed last August after the 2011 World Athletics Championships in Daegu, South Korea, and was definitely meant to be a "competition." If the commercial proves anything, it's just how heavy an issue of Saikyo Jump is.