Thanks mainly to a first-person “biography” written by former Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, there is renewed interest in disgraced former Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka. NHK is presenting a series of special programs, some of which are dramatizations, about the scandal that brought Tanaka down: the Lockheed bribery incident.
The documentary, “Lockheed Jiken Document 40-nenme Shogeki no Scoop” (“Lockheed Incident Document 40th Year Shocking Scoop”; NHK-G, Sun., 9 p.m.), will present new materials about the case that started with Tanaka’s arrest in 1976. These materials were recently uncovered in the U.S. and reveal previously unknown circumstances that connected the scandal to America’s Cold War strategy.
One of the most enduring characters in Japanese pop culture is the wandering loner, fashioned after the classic Hollywood Western “Shane.” “Yassan” (TV Tokyo, Fri., 8 p.m.) is one such character, based on the character in a novel by Koichi Hara.
Yassan (Tsuyoshi Ihara) is a mystery man with no fixed address, job or even money, but he does possess an amazing knowledge of Japanese cuisine. In this new drama series, Yassan hangs around the Tsukiji wholesale seafood market, where he meets Takao (Tasuku Emoto) who, after losing his elite IT job, is also drifting with no real purpose. When Takao sees Yassan’s talent, he begs to become his apprentice.
In episode 2, which airs this week, Takao is helping Hashida (Kotaro Satomi), the owner of a noodle shop, promote his business online when a boy tries to run out of the shop without paying. Yassan catches him and discovers “he” is really a she named Misaki, a runaway whose dream is to become a noodle chef. Yassan decides to rehabilitate her himself.
CM of the week
Xflag That iconic, reticent superhero Ultraman is celebrating his 50th year as a star of the small screen and other media, which now include video games. Software producer Xflag has struck a deal with Ultraman’s handlers for him to appear in the company’s new version of the hunting game “Monster Strike.” “Pokemon Go,” beware! The commercial is patterned after a retro movie-credits sequence, with silhouettes of famous Ultraman nemeses set against brightly colored backgrounds. They are all playing “Monster Strike” on their smartphones, until Ultraman whips out his device. Who will prevail?