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‘Historical Unknowns: Historia’; ‘Morning Comes’; DHC

by Philip Brasor

Kumamoto Castle, which was seriously damaged in last month’s earthquake, is one of Japan’s most beloved and iconic landmarks. Originally built in the 15th century, the structure is one of the largest fortifications in Japan and covers a big piece of land. It is famous for its stone foundation — the product of its original owners’ deep paranoia about being attacked.

NHK has quickly put together a special installment for its documentary series “Rekishi Hiwa Historia” (“Historical Unknowns: Historia”; NHK-G, Fri., 8 p.m.), about the castle, which has been destroyed and damaged many times before, but usually at the hands of men, not nature. The program explores the structure’s elaborate defensive features and the line of families who have controlled it, including that of former Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa.

Narumi Yasuda used to be one of the most in-demand actress for drama series until she got married, and then she became one of the most in-demand CM actresses, usually playing housewives and mothers. The eight-part “Asa ga Kuru” (“Morning Comes”; Fuji TV, June 4, 11:40 p.m.), marks her first drama-series appearance in 16 years.

Yasuda plays Satoko, the wife of Kiyokazu (Naoki Tanaka) and the mother of a little boy, Asato. However, Asato is not her biological child. The couple adopted him because Kiyokazu was infertile, though due to professional prejudices, doctors at first thought the problem was Satoko’s. After two years of unsuccessful fertility treatment, they decided to adopt.

Satoko sees her life as settled and secure until one day she receives a telephone call from Asato’s birth mother, who says she wants her boy back.

CM of the week

DHC Last summer, actress Eriko Sato gave birth to a boy and, according to show-biz media reports, has lost 24 kilograms since then. In a new CM for DHC’s slimming supplement we see Sato, dressed in high heels, a skimpy white T-shirt and very tight jeans, crossing a street triumphantly, claiming that she regained her svelte figure without “dieting.” The supplement features a substance called forskolin, which is currently being touted as something that stimulates cell activity and, presumably, burns fat, though the ad doesn’t say that outright. All the proof you need is in the body shape.