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Re-creating Reiko Ohara; Tragic tsunami elementary school; CM of the week: Elleair

Reiko Ohara died in 2009 after a long illness and an even longer time out of the public eye. In the 1970s and ’80s, she was one of the busiest and most respected actresses in Japan. On Wednesday, TV Tokyo is presenting a two-hour drama about her life, “Joyu Reiko: Hono no yo ni” (“Actress Reiko: Like a Flame”; 9 p.m.). It will be interesting to see how much detail the drama covers, since many of the people in Ohara’s life are still alive.

Ohara, played by Rina Uchiyama, was born in 1946 and made her debut at the age of 18. She became a star quickly, and in 1973 married another actor, Tsunehiko Watase (played by Satoshi Tokushige, who belongs to the same production company as Watase). The marriage didn’t last because Reiko couldn’t balance family life and her acting career, but that wasn’t the worst of it. In 1975 she started suffering from Guillain-Barre syndrome, a chronic nervous disorder.

Next week marks the second anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake, whose effects are still being felt today. On Friday, a special edition of “NHK Special” (NHK-G, 10 p.m.) presents the story of Okawa Elementary School in Ishinomaki. Of the school’s 108 students, more than 70 died in the tsunami, and four remain missing. In addition, 10 staff members perished.

The documentary describes the events at the school from different standpoints represented by surviving relatives of the victims. This is a particularly touchy subject, because some of the parents are suing the authorities and an investigation into what actually happened that afternoon is ongoing. Different witnesses say different things, and the special will present new information as it attempts to uncover the truth.

CM of the week

Elleair: Arashi’s Jun Matsumoto either has a really nasty cold or suffers worse than the rest of us during hay fever season. In the course of this 30-second spot for Elleair’s Plus-Water facial tissues he sneezes 20 times by our count and fills his wastebasket to overflowing with discarded wads that look suspiciously dry considering how hard he’s honking.

The product’s selling point is that the tissues contain water for greater softness, though to us that only means they should be soggier. In any event, if Matsumoto doesn’t have a cold or an allergy, he’s the greatest on-cue sneezer in the annals of acting.