“Hachiro: Haha no Uta, Chichi no Uta” on NHK and more

Hachiro Sato, who died in 1973, is one of Japan’s most beloved writers of lyric poems and children’s songs. His life, however, was far from gentle, as shown on the current nine-part NHK drama series, “Hachiro: Haha no Uta, Chichi no Uta (Hachiro: Songs for Mother, Songs for Father”) (NHK-G, Mon., 9:15 p.m.).

Hachiro’s works were popular both before World War II and after it. “The Apple Song” was virtually the anthem of the immediate postwar recovery period. He was the archetypal free spirit, and the drama, based on a memoir written by half-sister Aiko, centers on his domestic troubles. In episode five, which airs this week, Hachiro (Toshiaki Karasawa) learns that his younger brother has committed suicide in Sendai. Enraged, Hachiro blames his mother, who divorced his father and raised the younger brother by herself.

Hachiro’s father, however, is a notorious womanizer, and Hachiro appears to have inherited his ways. His wife, Kumiko (Akiko Matsumoto), resigns herself to the fact that Hachiro is not going to leave his mistress, Ruriko (Mayu Tsuruta).

Fuji TV will present a special four-part documentary series on the natural history of eating called “Food Planet” (Mon-Thu, 11 p.m.), which will explore food in terms of biological evolution and ecology.

Monday’s program will look at the function of hunger as a biological phenomenon that spurs evolution. On Tuesday, the mechanism of taste will be explained and analyzed. Why are humans attracted to certain flavors?

Wednesday’s topic is “eat or be eaten,” and is an exploration of the food chain that will position the Japanese people in a kind of food hierarchy.

As the Japanese are fond of pointing out, they eat practically everything, while some cultures limit themselves to only a dozen or so foods.

The final show on Thursday will project the future of food: What happens if we have to leave Earth for distant worlds?

Two of the most popular detectives in Japanese literature are Kogoro Akechi and Kosuke Kindaichi. Akechi is the invention of Japan’s most famous mystery writer, Edogawa Rampo, while Kindaichi was created by Seishi Okomizo.

Both characters emerged many years ago, but they are being updated and pitted against each other in the two-hour drama “Akechi Kogoro vs. Kindaichi Kosuke” (TV Asahi, Sat., 9 p.m.), in which they are played, respectively, by Masahiro Matsuoka and Tomoya Nagase, the two younger members of the boy band Tokio.

The two detectives will retain their unique traits. Akechi, an expert criminal profiler, is a playboy who likes good suits and stylish foreign cars, while Kindaichi lacks tact and anything like a fashion sense. He’s blunt, cynical, and a mess, like most private eyes. These two will butt heads over the suicide of a police chief that may not be suicide.