“Kyoko Kikoku: Wasuresarareta Yometachi” (“Forced Repatriation: Forgotten and Neglected Brides”; TBS, Monday, 9 p.m.), a Cultural Agency-sanctioned program commemorating the 40th anniversary of normalized relations between Japan and China, dramatizes a 1993 incident when a group of women from China staged a sit-in at Narita airport demanding that the government allow them to settle in Japan.
The women were Japanese nationals who had migrated to Manchuria in the 1930s to marry Japanese emigrant men, but when the war ended they could not return and were forced to marry Chinese men just to survive. Because they could not locate surviving relatives in Japan, the Japanese government did not recognize them as returnees.
Tetsuya Watari plays Tadashi Kunitomo, a former spy for the Japanese military who helps the women in their quest for repatriation.
Japan is a great place to visit, but you wouldn’t know it from the poor effort the authorities make to attract tourists. That seems to be the sensibility behind “You wa Nani shi ni Nihon e?” (“Why’d You Come to Japan?”; TV Tokyo, Tuesday, 11:58 p.m.). Camera crews hang out at airports quizzing foreign arrivals about their reasons for visiting. Most have come for sightseeing, study or business, but if the reason is interesting the crew asks if it can tag along.
Among the visitors who agree to be filmed are a German man who has planned a bicycle tour of the country and a newlywed couple from Hong Kong who have come to Japan to shop for furniture for their honeymoon nest.
CM of the week
Tokyo Disney Resort: Most of the TV commercials for Tokyo Disneyland are live-action productions featuring people romping with Disney costume characters at the famous theme park, but there’s one ad, “Where Dreams Come True,” that uses animation. However, rather than the recognizable Disney drafting style, the drawings are clearly derived from Japanese anime. In 30 seconds the spot charts the life of a woman from girl to mother through her experiences at Tokyo Disneyland. Given how strict Disney is with its image, it’s difficult to imagine the company allowing an alternative to its animation style — but Japan, it seems, is special.
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