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Sunday, July 8, 2012

CHANNEL SURF

The brief life of Kaneko Misuzu; "Yumin Super Woman" visits Mt. Koya; CM of the week: The Try Group

Right after the Great East Japan Earthquake, the only commercials on TV were from the non-profit Ad Council. One of them featured a touching children's poem by Misuzu Kaneko (1903-1930) about the primacy of sibling relationships.

The poet's brief life is dramatized in "Kaneko Misuzu Monogatari: Minna Chigatte, Minna Ii" ("The Misuzu Kaneko Story: Everyone is Different, Everyone is Good"; TBS, Mon., 9 p.m.). Aya Ueto plays Kaneko, whose real given name was Teru. As a girl she was in love with Masahiro (Tsubasa Imai), who believed he was Teru's cousin though he was really her brother. Teru knew this but was commanded by her step-father, Matsuzo, to never tell Masahiro.

Matsuzo hires Teru to work in his bookstore in Shimonoseki as a favor to Masahiro, and then Matsuzo sends Masahiro to Tokyo.

Yumi Matsutoya, known to her fans as Yumin, has been one of Japan's most popular singer-songwriters since her debut in the early 1970s. She launches her first-ever television series this week. The theme of "Yumin Super Woman" (NHK-E, Fri., 11 p.m.) is the way women live today, their values and evolving lifestyles. Each week she is joined by a guest with whom she explores some corner of Japan.

Her inaugural guest is art director Chie Morimoto. They travel to Mt. Koya in Wakayama Prefecture. Koya is considered a sacred mountain, and contains one of Japan's most famous "power spots," where people who are uncertain about their lives go to gain some sort of enlightenment. This is the first of two programs about Mt. Koya.

CM of the Week: Try Group

The Try Group offers supplemental education for children in two forms, classroom instruction and home tutors. Its new series of commercials uses the very popular 1974 animated television series "Arupusu no Shojo Haiji," based on the classic 1872 children's book, "Heidi," by Johanna Spyri, about an orphaned girl who is raised by her grandfather in the Swiss Alps.

The main theme of "Heidi" is education, since the little girl teaches herself to read and write and, in turn, teaches her friend, a boy named Peter, to read and write. In the commercial, however, Heidi seems to require help from a besuited, bespectacled tutor who is clearly out-of-place in the rustic alpine setting.



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