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Investigation of the ‘long life’ hormone; forensics mystery; CM of the week: Kagome

A new obsession in Japan is something called the “long life” (chōju) hormone, a naturally occurring chemical that prolongs the life of the person who produces it. The medical variety show “Shujii ga Mitsukaru Shinryojo” (“The Clinic Where You Can Find Your Own Home Doctor”; TV Tokyo, Mon., 8 p.m.) explains how you can increase your production of the chōju hormone. It helps if you’re female, since women produce more, as evidenced by the tendency for them to live longer than men.

Also on the show, theater actor Tomio Umezawa, who on a previous episode pledged to quit smoking, reveals that he only lasted five days and pleads with the resident physicians to help him stop for good.

Two-hour mysteries are a staple of network television, and those whose ratings prove promising spawn sequels and even series. Forensics expert Maki Hara (Asaka Seto) returns for another case in (“Female Undercover Investigator Maki Hara”; Fuji TV, Fri., 9 p.m.), written by award-winning novelist Eri Yoshikawa.

Hara is assigned to investigate a burned corpse found in the mountains. After checking the remains, she is reminded of a similar case six years earlier. At the time she formed suspicions about a man named Sekiya and thinks he may be connected to this killing as well. But before she can act on her suspicions her two children are kidnapped, which also follows the M.O. of the earlier case, when the son of her supervisor was abducted.

CM of the week

Kagome: If a TV Commercial Hall of Fame is ever built there should be a special wing dedicated exclusively to the morning ritual of elimination and the ways advertisers have found to convey it metaphorically. A current series for Kagome’s Rabure yogurt drink features actress Atsuko Asano battling her way to regularity.

In one she confronts a stack of thick wooden disks and knocks the top one off cleanly with the help of a huge mallet while letting out a cry of victory. In the other, she’s encircled by a set of tall punching bags that she attacks with fury, knocking them all down. Punning on her name, she says she feels “refreshed in the morning” (“asa no sukkiri”), as long as she drinks Rabure before going to bed.