The Takashimas were once the first family of Japanese show business. Tadao Takashima was a popular stage musical actor in the 1960s and Hanayo Sumi a star in the Takarazuka all-female musical revue company. They married and were celebrated as a “sweet couple,” producing two sons who went on to acting careers of their own. Tadao enjoyed a second life as a popular TV host, but then tragedy struck. Tadao suffers from debilitating depression and Hanayo has also retreated from public life, since all her time is spent taking care of him.
The two-hour special “Dokusen Mitchaku: Takashima Family no Tenkoku to Jigoku” (“Exclusive Coverage: The Takashima Family’s Heaven and Hell”; Fuji, Tues., 7 p.m.) looks at the Takashima saga and shows how Tadao is coping with his affliction. The program promises candor, but will it cover the messy divorce of son Masanobu, which the mass media avoided because he was in so many of their adverts?
Everyone knows that Tokyo’s Akihabara is Japan’s capital for otaku (obsessive hobbyists), if not the universe’s, but many don’t know that there is an underground world in the district where otaku culture is even more intense.
The documentary program “Document 72 Jikan” (“Document 72 Hours”; NHK-G, Fri., 10:55 p.m.) spends three days in this rarefied precinct, where the “idols” are young women who failed auditions at mainstream talent agencies and the “fans” range in age from teenage boys to men in their 60s. NHK’s cameras get up close and personal with these queasy interactions and the intimate performance spaces where they take place.
CM of the week
Asahi Soft Drinks: Yuru-kyara, those soft, oversized costumed mascots used by local governments as cultural-economic ambassadors, are to the 2010s what Pokémon were to the 1990s: cute, ubiquitous and legion. In order to promote its Jurokucha blended tea, Asahi Soft Drinks hired Yui Aragaki to play a tour guide in a series of commercials featuring local yuru-kyara targeting specific regional markets — 10 in all. But there’s also an ad for national consumption. That means not only 11 separate commercials, but 11 separate sets of yuru-kyara, which might be expensive since some of the more popular ones are represented by talent agencies. Can yuru-kyara demand residuals?