The Japanese word “idenshi” means “gene,” but a homonym that changes the last Chinese character in the compound to “history” alters the meaning slightly. Both are manifest in the title of the special “Seiko no Idenshi” (“History of Successful Inheritance”; Nippon TV, Mon., 7:56 p.m.), hosted by comedian Takeshi “Beat” Kitano.

The program profiles Japanese people whose lives have affected many others, and endeavors to pinpoint the moment in the person’s past — a meeting, an idea, a stroke of luck — that determined their destiny. Moreover, what is the basis for greatness?

Among the figures featured on the program are Nobel Prize winners Shinya Yamanaka and Satoshi Omura, athletes Keisuke Honda and Sadaharu Oh, and the ramen chef who received a one-star rating from the Michelin restaurant guide.

Politicians know that bribery will get you anywhere, but what about comedians? The duo TakaToshi are known as shy fellows, and have trouble making friends. They need help, so on the show “TakaToshi Gyuniku Takuhaibin” (“TakaToshi’s Beef Delivery Service”; Nippon TV, Fri., 7 p.m.) they have access to a truckload of beef, which they use to gain the favor of big-name celebrities.

The pair show up at the home or workplace of a famous person and worm their way into their hearts with A-grade Japanese steaks. In the end, they return to the studio with evidence that they’ve made a new friend.

This week, they crash the provincial tour of the Sumo Association and try to get close to Grand Champion Hakuho. They also show up at the home of kabuki star Nakamura Hashinosuke and his wife, former idol Hiroko Mita, as well as a practice session for the Sakura Sevens female rugby team.

CM of the week

Daiwa House: Actress Juri Ueno cautiously opens the door of her apartment and sighs in relief, “Good, they didn’t come today.”

But she’s wrong. The indie rock band, Golden Bomber, which is known more for its live “performances” than for its music, is waiting for her with party favors, ready to celebrate her birthday — though Ueno insists it is not her birthday. She shoves them out but they only find their way back in.

The ad is for Daiwa House’s D-Room rental service, which promises effective security from, apparently, over-earnest entertainers.

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