Dramatization of Mukoda’s ‘Kurumi no Heya’; value-savvy celebrity special; CM of the week: Fanta

The late writer Kuniko Mukoda was famous for her teleplays, which portrayed Japanese family life in a more realistic light than almost anyone else’s TV scripts. This week, NHK starts a six-part dramatization of one of her novels, meaning a story that she didn’t write directly for the small screen.

The central character in “Kurumi no Heya” (“The Chestnut Room”; NHK-G, Tues., 10 p.m.) is Momoko (Nao Matsushita), who becomes her mother’s main support after her father (Keizo Kanie) goes missing, as well as the principal authority figure for her younger sisters. Eventually, her father’s subordinate, a younger man named Tsuzuki (Taizo Harada), informs Momoko that he thinks he knows where her father has gone, and that if she wants, he will try to talk him into coming home.

People in show business often seem bizarrely out of touch. Everyday matters the average person takes for granted may not be something they have much experience with.

On the two-hour variety special “Price King” (Fuji TV, Fri., 9 p.m.), 30 entertainers will compete with one another to see which one has the most practical knowledge of consumer matters. They will be presented with items, some common, some not so common, and asked to name their retail prices.

Structured as a “survival game,” the program eliminates contestants as it goes along, until only one is left standing. That person is crowned the Price King and awarded ¥1 million.

CM of the week: Fanta

A while ago Coca-Cola hired five celebrities as a rock band to promote its Fanta line of carbonated beverages. All were real musicians, except for the designated drummer, former sumo grand champion Akebono.

Akebono’s lack of time-keeping skills were finally addressed in a recent ad that had the group bringing in a new drummer during rehearsal: Kuidaore Taro, the mechanical clown-doll that famously adorned the entrance to an Osaka eatery beating a drum for more than 50 years before “retiring” in 2008.

In a followup spot, the origins of the Fanta band are shown with all the members represented by child versions of themselves. In the last scene, however, the current band is on stage at a festival with Taro behind the kit and Akebono working at a yakisoba booth.