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Nihon TV’s “2,000 Days That Will Linger in History” and more

Pretty soon we won’t have Junichiro Koizumi to kick around any more, at least not as prime minister, and for those of you who are already feeling nostalgic for the “Koizumi Theater,” Nihon TV will present a two-hour dramatization of his administration Monday at 9 p.m.

“2,000 Days That Will Linger in History: Solving Five Mysteries” stars former race-car driver Koichi Iwaki as the lion-haired politician. The program centers on five “turning points” that took place during Koizumi’s term and attempts to look behind the scenes, revealing things that the rest of the media didn’t.

Among these turning points was Koizumi’s exploitation of the popular Makiko Tanaka to win elections and then forcing her to resign as his foreign minister. Then there was his historic visit to North Korea, which set in motion the whole abduction controversy. And don’t forget those “assassins” who in the last general election defeated Liberal Democratic Party members who didn’t support Koizumi’s reform plans.

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Regional partisans trumpet their uniqueness on “Himitsu no Kenmin Show (Prefectural Citizens’ Secrets Show)” (Nihon TV, Thursday, 9 p.m.) in which 47 celebrities, each representing the prefecture where he or she grew up, get together to brag about their hometowns. Ubiquitous emcee Monta Mino hosts and also represents Tokyo.

The participants will attempt to one-up one another in terms of local features and customs, some of which are decidedly curious. People from Nagano Prefecture, for instance, have a habit of cleaning their homes in utter silence. In Kumamoto, we learn that whenever someone runs a fever there’s a tradition of slapping some horsemeat on the forehead. Naturally, food plays an important part. Different types of okonomiyaki are compared, as well as methods for preparing rice. In Ehime, for example, people place mandarin oranges in their rice.

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The human brain is the final frontier, the source of all perception whose mechanism is still something of a mystery. On the science special “Deciphering the Human Heart” (Asahi; Sept. 24, 2 p.m.) journalist Shuntaro Torigoe and actress Keiko Takeshita talk to neurologist Kenichiro Mogi, who has carried out extensive research into the “brain substances” that control human emotions and written a best seller about it.

In particular, Mogi talks about seratonin and dopamine, two chemicals that regulate emotional stability. It’s been proven that a decrease in seratonin often leads to depression, and many drugs used to treat depression essentially control seratonin levels. Dopamine, on the other hand, works to create a feeling of comfort, even euphoria, so increased dopamine levels are equated with happiness.