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The making of ‘Kaze Tachinu’; Japanese ‘Up Series’ continues; CM of the week: Boss

Nippon TV has the sole broadcast rights for the films of Hayao Miyazaki, which means whenever you watch his movies on TV you have to endure commercial breaks.

NHK has the lock on TV documentaries about the reclusive animator. The public broadcaster hangs around whenever he makes a film and then edits the footage after that film is released. The doc for his latest, “Kaze Tachinu,” will be shown on “Professional: Shigoto no Ryuji” (“Professional: A Style of Work”; NHK-G, Mon., 10 p.m.).

“Kaze” is the 72-year-old director’s first film in five years, and was inspired in part by the Great East Japan Earthquake. He admits to NHK that he wanted to do something completely different this time, and betrays anxiety that his audience may not appreciate the way he tells this particular story, which is about a real-life person.

‘The Up Series,” originally produced by Britain’s Granada Television, is one of the most influential documentary programs in broadcast history. In 1964, it covered the lives of 14 7-year-old British children from various backgrounds and then followed up those lives every seven years with a new special. In 1992, NHK started a Japanese version, “Nana-nen Goto no Kiroku” (“A Record of Each Seven Years”), and earlier this month broadcast the fourth installment, covering the subjects at the age of 28.

In the next few weeks, related programs will be rebroadcast on NHK’s educational channel. On Friday and Sept. 6, the latest British show, covering the subjects at age 56, will be shown at 11 p.m. On Sept. 13, the fourth installment of the Russian version will be broadcast; and a reedited edition of the latest Japanese episode will be shown on Sept. 20 and 27.

CM of the week: Boss

SMAP recently started appearing in ads for Suntory’s Boss canned coffee, so it was inevitable that its path would cross with that of the “alien Jones,” meaning Tommy Lee Jones as an undercover extraterrestrial studying Earth’s (read: Japan’s) habits and sensibilities.

In the latest he’s a security guard checking out an empty arena prior to a SMAP concert. He climbs the stage and starts moonwalking to a tune that sounds like “Billy Jean.” From the wings, SMAP look on in awe, obviously forgetting the fact that Michael Jackson was from outer space too.