Back home with Kotoshogiku; dramatized Minato novel ‘Kyogu’; CM of the week: Toyota

The premise of the new variety series “Japan 47 Channels Super” (TBS, Wed., 9 p.m.) is to show viewers how great Japan is. The numeral in the title refers to the 47 prefectures, which means the themes are regional ones.

This week, the show includes a new segment called “Yoku Shiyo! Nippon” (“Way to Go, Japan!”), which offers ideas for making Japan an even better country.

However, the focus of the special is the regular segment called “Star Omoide Tsurisuto” (“Star Memories Tourist”), which follows a celebrity to a place in Japan that holds special meaning for him or her. This week’s star is sumo’s newest ozeki (champion), Kotoshogiku, who has attracted a lot of attention since he’s the first new Japanese ozeki in many years. He revisits his hometown of Yanagawa in Fukuoka Prefecture.

Kanae Minato is one of Japan’s most popular novelists, famous for “Kokuhaku (Confessions),” which was recently made into a hit movie. This week, TV Asahi presents a new drama that Minato wrote specifically for television called “Kyogu” (“Situation”).

The story focuses on the friendship between Yoko (Yasuko Matsuyuki), a wife and mother who writes picture books, and Harumi (Ryo), a single woman who works as a reporter. Their relationship is based on a unique bond: Both were abandoned by their respective parents when they were young.

Yoko’s son is kidnapped, and the abductor tells her that in order to get him back she must publicly reveal a secret she has been hiding for years. Yoko enlists Harumi to help her recover her child.

CM of the week

Toyota: In its latest TV spots, Toyota uses characters from the long-running animated program “Doraemon,” about a robot cat who is constantly coming to the aid of a luckless adolescent named Nobita.

All the characters are now 30 but nothing has changed, and Nobita still can’t catch a break with pretty Shizuka. During a date by the river, she is spirited away by the slick operator Suneo because Nobita doesn’t have a car. Later he sits in his room feeling sorry for himself and Doraemon appears from out of his desk. “Give me a car,” Nobita pleads, since the robot cat can produce anything. “But you don’t have a license,” he says. The joke isn’t half as funny as the fact that Doraemon is played by French actor Jean Reno.