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A ‘black company’ comedy and a stock market drama; CM of the week: Takarakuji

by Philip Brasor

Special To The Japan Times

The new Fuji TV series, “Black President” (Tues., 10 p.m.), is not about Barack Obama. It’s about a man named Mitamura (Ikki Sawamura), an entrepreneur who has turned his apparel company into a national success, mainly by oppressing his workers, which is why his enterprise is called a burakku kigyo (black company).

But “Black President” is more of a comedy. Having achieved success, Mitamura decides to do something he didn’t have time for when he was building his business: go to school. He applies to a university, takes the entrance test, passes and enrolls in a management program. His secretary thinks he’s crazy, but he’s determined, and becomes even more so when he meets his new instructor, Kyoko (Meisa Kuroki).

Financial matters are also the subject of “Zenijo” (“Money Woman”; Fuji TV, Fri., 9 p.m.), a two-hour drama based on a true story that took place starting in the late 1980s, when the bubble economy was still growing.

Megumi (Eri Watanabe) runs a well-established restaurant, but her real passion is the stock market. She chooses stocks based on “spiritual clues” that come to her as she prays. In order to fund her obsession she takes loans, which her bank is only too happy to extend to her. Then she hires Miho (Mariko Shinoda), a young woman whose seductive compliments start to influence Megumi’s choices. Soon she is under Miho’s spell, and then the bubble bursts.

This is the first time Shinoda, a former member of AKB48, has played a dark character.

CM of the Week: Takarakuji

Actress Ai Kato is walking down the street when she hears a voice asking for help. She turns around and is shocked to see actor Yoji Tanaka, suspended in midair and surrounded by a beam of light. He tells her he wants to buy a ticket for the springtime Haruranman kuji (lottery), and when he adds it’s worth ¥100 million Sato forgets the bizarre sight and starts thinking she should buy a ticket. In the meantime, a tentacle has dropped down from above and starts pulling Tanaka up, presumably into an extraterrestrial spaceship. “If only I could buy it,” he laments. The viewer will be as shocked as Sato, since at first Tanaka, with his necktie extending above his head and a pained expression, looks as if he’s hanging. It’s an image the lottery people probably didn’t intend.