A Japanese gardener in Cuba; Tetsuko Kuroyanagi’s 40th anniversary; CM of the week: Adidas


In 2015, the United States finally normalized relations with post-revolution Cuba. Japan, however, has never severed ties with the Caribbean country, and has always enjoyed a warm friendship with it. Part of the reason for this friendship is Kenji Takeuchi.

On the travel special, “Cuba ga Aishita Nihonjin” (“The Japanese Person Who Loved Cuba”; Nippon TV, Sun., 3 p.m.), actor Osamu Mukai goes to Cuba to find out about Takeuchi, who stopped over in Havana in 1931 on his way to study in America and never left. A horticulturist, Takeuchi developed the island’s flower industry and went on to build a number of successful agricultural villages dedicated to producing vegetables.

Mukai discovers that while Takeuchi is virtually unknown in Japan, he is considered a great man in Cuba, an immigrant who had a big influence on Cuban history. He has been effusively praised by former president Fidel Castro.

Gadfly actress-announcer Tetsuko Kuroyanagi is celebrating the 40th anniversary this month of her record-breaking daily talk show, “Tetsuko no Heya” (“Tetsuko’s Room”), and TV Asahi is supplementing regular broadcasts of the show itself with a two-hour prime-time special. (Thurs., 7 p.m.)

Among the trivia revealed in the special is the factoid that Kuroyanagi has never worn the same outfit more than once on the run of 10,000 programs. And on the special she chats with motormouth comedian Sanma Akashiya for the first time in 26 years. Since Kuroyanagi herself is pretty fast with the repartee, it should be quite a conversation.

In addition, fellow talk show host Matsuko Deluxe shows up and the two interviewers make a rare trip outside of the TV Asahi studio. There are also interviews with major athletes such as Sadaharu Oh and Homare Sawa, as well as vintage takes from past programs.

CM of the week: Adidas

Model-actress Nana Eikura has been stirring up a lot of media chatter with her “erotic” ad for Adidas training wear. There’s not much eroticism in what Eikura is doing. She’s on a stationary bicycle in an otherwise empty room working out, but the camera pans slowly over her body in close-up as she pedals, savoring every glistening drop of sweat as well as the Adidas logo on her eye-catching sports bra and tights. The slogan is “I got this,” though the underlying message is, “You want this too, right?”

  • Charlie Sommers

    I used to get Cuban cigars that were world travelers. A friend’s son was stationed in Japan where they were available and would send a few to her on occasion in packages of other goodies. She didn’t smoke so always gave them to me. When she passed on I lost my source of this treat. Sadly now that I can get them legally I no longer smoke. Oh well.