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The 68th anniversary of Hiroshima; a profile of the war-time governor of Okinawa; CM of the week: Kirin

NHK commemorates the 68th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima with a report on “secondary leukemia” in the documentary special “Owarinaki Hibaku to no Tatakai” (“Battling Endless Radiation”; NHK-G, Tues., 7:30 p.m.).

In the aftermath of the bombings, many victims who showed no outward injuries soon died from acute disorders, and then, some years later, others died from chronic disorders such as cancer. In recent years, however, doctors who have worked with survivors of the bombings notice the manifestation of “secondary leukemia,” which they believe is the result of genetic materials “scarred” by radiation, turning their cells into “time bombs” that are just now going off. The program follows several of these doctors as they both study and treat the condition.

A little-known hero of the Battle of Okinawa, which started in the spring of 1945, was Akira Shimada, who was appointed governor of the island only two months before the American invasion. Shimada was a career bureaucrat, born in Hyogo but working in Osaka. He was assigned to Okinawa after the previous governor fled.

“Ikiro” (“Stay Alive”; TBS, Wed., 9 p.m.) is a two-hour docudrama about Shimada’s work as governor. Played by Naoto Ogata, Shimada has his work cut out for him right away in smoothing out conflicts between public workers and the police. Fortunately, he knows the chief of the constabulary, Arai (Koji Matoba), from his youth when they played for rival baseball teams. They work together to relieve the island’s food shortage and then evacuate residents from the southern part of the island to the northern part.

CM of the week: Kirin

A young apprentice fisherman is having a bad day on the boat. His boss pushes him aside and complains when he can’t bring the net in properly. Later, on the docks, the young man opens a can of Kirin’s new happōshu (low-malt beer), Sumikiri, and curses.

Actor Etsushi Toyokawa, dressed as a medieval soldier, appears before him and says sagely, “You want to be angry or you want to learn?” He snaps his fingers for effect: “It’s up to you.” The apprentice drinks heartily. The next day his attitude has improved, thanks to alcohol and the wisdom of a warrior, who dons dark glasses, his mission complete.

  • Doug

    I’d curse, too, if I drank happou-shu when I was expecting beer….