In Japan, there’s a commonly held romantic notion that people who really want to pursue certain kinds of ambitions have to go abroad to do so. Only by immersing oneself in an environment that offers no distractions from the goal can one truly master a discipline.

This concept is the basis for the new TBS variety series “John Manjiro” (Monday, 12:50 a.m.). The program’s title is the name of the famous fisherman who brought new technologies back from the West at the start of the Meiji Era. However, as an eponymous hero, John Manjiro is something of a misnomer in terms of the aims of the show.

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