2,160 Hours of Yasushi Akimoto; AKB48 dramas; CM of the week: U-Can

Some fans can’t get enough of AKB48, and NHK understands this, so on Monday it is broadcasting “Mitchaku: Akimoto Yasushi 2,160-jikan” (“Intense Coverage: 2,160 Hours of Yasushi Akimoto”; BS Premium, 9 p.m.), a two-hour special (presumably just the highlights then) in which NHK’s cameras follow AKB producer-Svengali Yasushi Akimoto’s very busy life as he auditions new members for the SKE48 troupe in Nagoya and rehearses the opening performance of the remodeled SKE48 Theater in that city.

The guy is a relentless entertainment machine, according to various famous people interviewed during the course of the special, which also looks back on his career as a lyricist and star-maker.

If that’s not enough, the fruits of Akimoto’s endeavors will make you cry tears of pleasure, sorrow, anger and happiness for three nights running, and not by shaving their heads. Each night from Feb. 11 to 13 an AKB48 team will present a special one-hour drama as part of the mini-series “So Long” (Nippon TV, Mon. 12:18 a.m.; Tues. and Wed., 11:58 p.m.).

On Monday, Team A presents a story about a high school student who works hard to be an accomplished ballet dancer but is hindered by a lack of social skills.

Tuesday night finds Team K tackling the tale of two sisters, one humble and quiet, the other cheerful and outgoing.

On Wednesday, Team B looks at a high school teacher who announces that she is quitting her job before the end of the school year. Though she will miss graduation, her students don’t seem to care — except one, who soon learns that the teacher is dying.

CM of the week

U-Can: In a new TV commercial for the vocational correspondence school U-Can, actress-model Chiriko Sakashita plays a woman who works behind the front desk at a medical facility. While she consults with a colleague, a little boy appears in the doorway accompanied by his father. After staring at her in fascination, the boy salutes her and she salutes back.

We know from the previous spot in the series that the boy is her son, and that while she studied U-Can courses at home to “get her credential,” her husband helped with the housework, albeit clumsily. Everyone is learning how to cope with the new economy.