Profiles of ‘nice people’; Seicho Matsumoto thrille; CM of the week: Softbank

Teruyoshi Uchimura and Kiyotaka Nanbara, better known as the comedy duo Utchan Nanchan, have tended to work separately in recent years, but they make a rare joint appearance as the hosts of the variety special “Konna Ii Hito Mita Koto Nai” (“I’ve Never Seen Such a Nice Person”; Nihon TV, Fri., 7 p.m.).

The “nice persons” profiled on the program are considered nice because they’re extremely wealthy and like to spread their money around. For example, the owner of a major pharmaceutical company in Russia recently gave his wife a house of her own valued at ¥40 billion, and then gave his son a ¥100 million sports car for a birthday present. If that sounds as if he’s only nice to his family, he says he also has an idea that will help people all over the world — if they’re rich.

The show also looks at what the “American Dream” means nowadays.

Marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of mystery writer Seicho Matsumoto, there will be plenty of new dramatizations of his work on TV and in movie theaters this year. One of his most popular thrillers,

“Suna no Utsuwa” (“A Vessel of Sand”), will be presented in a brand new version on Saturday at 9 p.m. on TV Asahi.

The time is the 1960s, the place Tokyo, and the viewpoint that of young police detective Yoshimura (Hiroshi Tamaki), who, along with his older partner, Imanishi (Kaoru Kobayashi), is investigating the murder of a man found beaten to death in a train terminal. They learn that before the man was killed, he was seen with another man in a bar, and the two detectives try to track the man down.

Based on a tip from a reporter named Yoko (Miki Nakatani), Yoshimura and Imanishi head to Akita to look for more clues, and there they encounter a promising young composer named Waga (Kuronosuke Sasaki), who may be connected to the murder.

CM of the week: SoftBank

In the never ending saga of the White family, dad the dog and “older brother” (Dante Carver) have gone back to school, ostensibly to learn new things but mainly to shill for SoftBank’s special mobile-phone savings plan for students.

Dog, Dante and other students are receiving a lesson from former boxer Guts Ishimatsu, who is lecturing on proverbs. On the blackboard he’s written the phrase, “There’s nothing more ____ than something that’s free.” One student says that the blank should be filled in with the word “expensive.” Ishimatsu retorts, “Free is free, and a blank is a blank.” The students don’t understand, but one, Taizo Sugimura, seems profoundly impressed. Sugimura was a Diet lawmaker who won his seat with zero political experience and then became famous for putting his foot in his mouth.

A new career beckons.