Kimiko Yo’s career has followed a different trajectory from that of most Japanese actors. She started in theater at the age of 20 in 1976 and didn’t land her first movie role until 1987. She has since made a resume of solid supporting roles but didn’t gain traction as a leading lady until the dawn of the millennium, when she was in her 40s.

Yo is the subject of this week’s installment of “Family History” (NHK-G, Mon., 10 p.m.), which looks at her background. Raised in Yokohama by a Japanese mother and a Taiwanese father born in mainland China, Yo knew nothing about her nationality except what was written on her alien registration card, so she learns as much from the program as we do, including the strange story of how her father and grandfather came to Japan in the first place.

‘Sekai wa Kotoba de Dekite Iru” (“Words Make the World”; Fuji TV, Wed., 7 p.m.) is a quiz show that used to be broadcast after midnight and grew in popularity, so Fuji TV decided to upgrade it to prime time. It re-premieres this week with a slightly different format in a special two-hour installment.

The premise of the quiz is famous phrases made by famous people such as Steve Jobs, Friedrich Nietzsche and Oscar Wilde, some of which have been appropriated as company mottos, family credos and even advertising copy; in other words, any clever turn of phrase that sticks in the mind. The show’s contestants, called “kotobusters,” are given phrases that are incomplete and asked to complete them. They are also asked to improve on some phrases. Actress and former idol Kyoko Koizumi will appear as a semi-regular guest.

CM of the week

Tsutaya: Overseas, video-on-demand has eclipsed DVD rentals as the preferred medium for home entertainment, but in Japan it has yet to catch on. Still, young people don’t rent DVDs, and so we have this “Tsutaya for adults” CM.

Tsutaya is Japan’s leading rental service, and the black-and-white ad shows elderly people reenacting scenes from classic Hollywood films “Jaws,” “West Side Story” and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” They’re all rural Italians, thus forging an association with the movie “Nuovo Cinema Paradiso,” which is about classic Hollywood movies. It is also one of the most beloved foreign films ever released in Japan.

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