This week, Nihon TV’s weekly documentary series “Super TV” (Mon., 9:54 p.m.) explores Aokigahara Jukai, the densely wooded area near Mount Fuji that is famous as a final destination for suicide victims.
Television cameras have never before entered deep into Aokigahara Jukai. The forests have a sinister reputation: For some reason, compasses and even global positioning systems don’t work there, so once a person walks in it is very easy to get hopelessly lost — which explains why the area attracts so many of those who want to end their lives.
During its tour of the forest, the video crew encounters one such person and persuades him to abandon his fatal plan. However, they also encounter at least one corpse.
France has the largest population of Muslims in Europe, numbering about five million, almost all of whom are originally from North Africa. With its strong national identity, France has been struggling with ways to assimilate its foreign-born residents. The most controversial move so far was passage of a law that banned overtly religious “ornamentation” from public schools. Such items include “large” crucifixes and yarmulkes, but the main target has been head scarves worn by Muslim girls.
This week, NHK’s “World Documentary” (BS1, Wed., 10:10 p.m.) presents an American documentary that focuses on one devoutly Muslim girl living in a suburb of Paris made up mostly of immigrants. France’s Muslims believe the law is political in nature and basically anti-democratic, while the government says it is simply a matter of separating church and state. As the report shows, the law is causing problems within the Muslim community, since those who follow the law and those who don’t are automatically at odds with one another. Even public-school teachers disagree about the fairness and effectiveness of the law. The documentary will be presented in bilingual format.
One of the most popular series from summer 2003 was “Dr. Koto Shinryojo (Dr. Koto’s Clinic),” about an idealistic young doctor who set up the only medical facility on Shikina, a remote island in the Ryukyus. At first, Dr. Goto (“Koto” is a local pronunciation) is mistrusted by the local residents, who don’t take to outsiders unless they are tourists. But eventually his sincerity and dedication win them over.
This week, Fuji TV presents a two-part followup to the series (Fri. & Sat., 9 p.m.). It has been one year since Dr. Goto (Hidetaka Yoshioka) has settled on Shikina Island, and the local people would like nothing better than for the young physician to marry his pretty nurse assistant Saika (Ko Shimazaki), but on the day of the island festival Saika finds her mother passed out in the kitchen.