|

The struggles of a single mother; the return of a good Samaritan; CM of the week: Kincho

The welfare ministry estimates there are more than 1 million single mothers in Japan whose individual annual incomes are less than ¥2 million. A new drama series titled simply “Woman” (Nippon TV, Wed., 10 p.m.) is about one such single mother.

Koharu (Hikari Mitsushima) finds it almost impossible to make a living because so much of her salary has to go to pay for daycare for her children. Just when it seems she can’t go on any longer she is contacted by her estranged mother (Yuko Tanaka), whom she hasn’t talked to in more than 20 years. Her mother offers to help Koharu financially, and Koharu isn’t sure how to respond.

A forgotten figure from the past is also the focus of another new drama series. In “Machi Isha Jumbo” (“Town Doctor Jumbo”; Nippon TV, Thurs., 11:58 p.m.), Daisuke Maki of the R&B collective Exile plays Masayoshi Tsuruta, who goes by the nickname “Jumbo.” He used to work at a clinic in the small town where he grew up, alongside the clinic’s chief, Dr. Baba, but disappeared without telling anyone. Rumors persisted that he was having financial problems.

Twelve years later, Dr. Baba has died suddenly and the clinic is closed. His daughter, Asuka (Shiori Kutsuna), is desperately looking for someone to take over the practice when a man comes knocking at the door carrying another man who fell ill at a nearby beach. The Good Samaritan is Jumbo, whom Asuka used to have a crush on. However, she’s upset to see how much he’s changed over the years. He’s become ill-tempered and obsessed with money, but he still seems to have a talent for diagnosis.

CM of the Week: Kincho

It takes a tough man to stand up to the insects of summer, so frail, skinny fashion model Rui Kurihara would seem to need all the help he can get. He peers out from his front door at some oversized mosquitoes and flies hovering about. He warns them in a voice that sounds as if he literally couldn’t hurt a fly to keep their distance. “You don’t want to come any closer, because I am … the Mosquito Hunter.”

He whips out his can of Kincho bug spray as the “noisy mosquitos rally round” and then he gives them a nice wide blast. The insects then fall to the ground, neutralized, and Kurihara poses triumphantly, if a bit awkwardly. A killer is born.