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Now he’s an actor and television personality, but 25 years ago Hidekazu Akai was known as the “Naniwa Rocky,” a professional boxer from the Naniwa region of Osaka. Recently, the boxing club of Kinki University, where he made his reputation, was rocked by a scandal. Some of the members were arrested for beating and robbing people on the street, and the club closed down.

Akai wants to restore some honor to his alma mater, so he is returning to the ring. The 50-year-old lost 8 kg, quit smoking and drinking, and then started sparring with WBC Bantam weight world champion Hozumi Hasegawa in the gymnasium of Naniwa High School, which Akai also attended. This grueling process of returning to pugilism in middle age is documented on “Boku to Kazoku no Koshiki Kiryoku” (The Official Record of Me and My Family; Fuji, Mon., 12:35 a.m.), which mostly shows Hasegawa making hamburger out of Akai, but the older man doesn’t give up so easily. Japanese dairy farmers have been hit very hard recently by the rise in the cost of livestock feed, which mostly comes from the U.S. Those who allow their cows to graze haven’t been affected by the feed crisis, but they tend to work on a much smaller scale, anyway.

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