Drama celebrates real-life hospital saving abandoned babies; an Olympic thriller; CM of the week: au

It’s been six years since a hospital in Kumamoto Prefecture installed its “baby hatch,” a compartment where women could anonymously abandon babies with no questions asked. So far 92 infants have been placed in the compartment, which continues to be controversial.

“Konotori no Yurikago” (“The Stork’s Cradle”; TBS, Mon., 9 p.m.) dramatizes some of the stories related to the compartment. Yumiko (Hiroko Yakushimaru), the chief nurse at Seiboshi Hospital, sets up the facility with the help of the hospital director, Hayami (Katsuhiko Watabiki). The women who make inquiries all have different problems — and then one day a high school girl shows up with her baby.

TV Asahi celebrates its 55th anniversary with a special two-night drama, “Olympic no Minoshirokin” (“The Olympic Ransom”; Sat. and Sun., 9 p.m.), based on a novel by Hideo Okuda.

It’s 1964, and the whole nation is excited about the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, but just before the games commence an arsonist attacks the homes of Foreign Ministry officials. The police try to keep a lid on it. Even rank-and-file officers don’t know about the fires, but one cop, Ochiai (Yutaka Takenouchi), overhears one of his superiors talking about it. Then the police academy in Nakano is struck, and it’s more difficult to keep the news from the public. Ochiai investigates, and his prime suspect is a poor University of Tokyo graduate student.

CM of the week: au

Show Aikawa is an eccentric company president and Ayame Goriki an employee in the new campaign for cellphone service provider au. In one ad, Goriki is eating lunch and Aikawa joins her. They watch a commercial about a new au service and Aikawa jumps up with a frog hand puppet and starts mimicking a song that pop idol Kyary Pamyu Pamyu sings for another au campaign in which she and some life-size frogs (kaeru) ride around (noru) on various vehicles.

In a play on words, this norikaeru campaign encourages viewers to switch from their present service to au. The “kaeru” phoneme is also used in new Docomo ads that “welcome back” (okaeri-nasai) ex-customers now that Docomo is finally offering the iPhone. It’s not clear if au is exploiting that campaign, but Aikawa’s performance sure is annoying.