This year marks the 50th anniversary of the death of novelist Junichiro Tanizaki, whose best works were published in the 1930s and 40s. Tanizaki was Japan’s most accomplished writer about sex, and much of what he wrote was based on experience.
This week, the documentary series “Rekishi Hiwa Historia” (“History Untold Historia”; NHK-G, Wed., 10 p.m.) looks at Tanizaki’s scandalous love life and how it affected his work. Much of the material is based on letters that have never been made public before, and which chronicle affairs that are shocking even by today’s standards. He was in love with his sister-in-law and carried on a long liaison with the wife of a powerful merchant. The program tries to describe his “ideal woman,” not to mention his philosophy about the relationship between sexual attraction and beauty.
Speaking of sex, Fuji TV’s new drama, “Transit Girls” (Sat., 11:40 p.m.), has already received a fair amount of publicity because of its subject: a romantic relationship between two adolescent girls. The series premieres Nov. 7.
Third year high school student Sayuri Hayama (Sairi Ito) still misses her mother, who died two years ago, so she isn’t prepared when her father remarries. Her new step-mother had been single since her first husband disappeared some years ago. She brings to the new family her own daughter, Yui (Yui Sakuma), whom Sayuri resents as an intruder.
In episode two on Nov. 14, Sayuri still hasn’t accepted her new family, but she is preoccupied with her best friend, Mirai, who has a crush on Sayuri’s neighbor, a boy named Nao. Sayuri and Nao have known each other all their lives, but Sayuri doesn’t know he has always been in love with her.
CM of the week: Nissan
Following her gig as part of the “adult Halloween” celebration last month in an ad for Asahi’s alcoholic Clear beverage, American actress Charlotte Kate Fox — who became famous in last year’s NHK morning drama, “Massan” — now appears in Nissan’s first commercial for its self-driving car, even though it’s years away from going on the market. Charlotte is seen tooling down a street at night by herself when she slowly takes her hands off the steering wheel. As the car continues to cruise and make turns she starts giggling helplessly, presumably out of delight, though there’s a bit of terror mixed in.
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