“Mito Komon’ in Ise; Gunma promotional mystery; CM of the week: Benesse

Japan’s longest-running historical drama series, “Mito Komon” (TBS, Mon., 8 p.m.), about an itinerant nobleman wandering the country with his followers helping people in need, lands in Ise this week. They meet a woman named Otaki who sells merchandise on the street and seems to be the ringleader of a gang of homeless urchins who carry out extra-legal activities.

They also meet Kamekichi, a boy looking for his mother, who left their Osaka home years ago for Ise and never returned. Mito’s group promises to help him find her, and Otaki claims to be that mother, but Mito is at first suspicious since Otaki collects children to do her bidding. But then Mito meets the evil constable of the famous Ise Shrine, and wonders if Otaki isn’t as bad as he first thought.

In national surveys that rank prefectures according to livability and tourist attractions, Gunma always comes out at the bottom. So part of the purpose of the mystery special, “Kiryu-ori Densetsu Satsujin Jiken” (“Kiryu Textile Legend Murder Case”; TV Tokyo, Wed. 9 p.m.) is to show people the charms of central Gunma as a tourist destination.

Chikamatsu (Hideki Takahashi) is the chief investigator of the Maebashi district prosecutor’s office. He’s called to the city of Kiryu, which is famous for its traditional textiles, to look into a murder case. The victim is a former police detective named Yamane who was found suffocated. The main suspect is a man named Matsuzaki, who was once falsely accused and arrested by Yamane. It was known that the two men often quarrelled. The prosecutor’s office is about to arrest Matsuzaki when police find a decayed body at a scenic dam that changes the case completely.

CM of the week

Benesse: It makes sense that the publishing house Benesse (pseudo-Latin for “well-being”) would put out magazines for expectant and new mothers. The company’s focus is on correspondence education, and it acquired Berlitz Language Schools in 2001.

A commercial for two Benesse magazines, Tamago Club for pregnant women and Hiyoko Club for women with newborn babies, describes expectant mothers as “new princesses,” and shows a glowing, full-bellied young woman surrounded by dancing, leaping, singing citizens whose only purpose, it seems, is to congratulate her and make sure her life is happy and care-free — even on a train.