We have a great line-up of programs coming up for New Year’s week.
It all begins with the 66th Annual Kohaku Utagassen, the Red and White Song Contest, on Friday, January 1st. Kohaku takes place in Japan on New Year’s eve, but our tradition at KIKU is to air it on New Year’s night from 5-10pm. We will be doing that again this year, and re-airing it the following day, on Saturday, January 2nd, from 11am-4pm. So if you miss any part of Kohaku on New Year’s night, you can sit back on Saturday to watch what you missed. Or, watch the entire program again.
For the last three years, the white (or boys) team has prevailed. This year, the captain of the white team will be Yoshihiko Inohara, a member of the V6 group. On the red (girls) side, for the second year in a row, the captain will be Haruka Ayase, star of the 2013 taiga drama, Yae no Sakura. You can bet Haruka will be pulling out all the stops to get the red team to win this year.
There are two specials airing the night of Saturday, January 2nd. At 7pm, we have Big Guys With One Dish Tour #2. (We aired Big Guys With One Dish Tour #1 this past September.) The “big guys” are Hidehiko Ishizuka, star of the Fat Detective, and sumo master Furiwake. The two guys play an eating game while exploring the Miura Peninsula in Kanagawa. Whoever wins gets to eat the special foods of the area to their heart’s delight, while the loser must be satisfied with a tiny, tiny morsel. This show is hilarious.
At 8:30pm, we are airing Journey to the Moon, a love story that takes place at a train station. Ryota works at a publishing house and was in Gifu to meet with an author. He misses his train for the return trip home, and notices a blind woman in the waiting area. They strike up a conversation and Ryota eventually learns the woman was there waiting for someone. This is a bittersweet love story filled with symbolism.
On Sunday, January 3rd, there is a movie titled My Home, My Town airing from 8-10pm. This stars handsome Osamu Mukai as Ippo Sakuragi, a young man whose job involves lending support to lonely clients with emotional scars. The irony is that Ippo himself bears scars from when his father walked out on the family 20 years ago. What happens when Ippo’s family is unexpectedly reunited?
From Monday, January 4th, to Thursday, January 7th, we are resting Soko ga Shiritai in order to air special New Year’s programs from 7-8pm.
Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights, we will be airing a three-part Madame Butterfly special. The passion of Puccini’s opera is given new life in this TV drama about a young woman named Cho-Cho who struggles to maintain a respectable life following the death of her samurai father. After her supportive stepmother passes away, Cho-Cho is left with no resources, and is forced to become a geisha. Eventually, she meets an American naval officer, whom she marries. And although it would appear the tragedy of her life is over, that is not the case. Madame Butterfly stars the beautiful Aoi Miyazaki as Cho-Cho.
Monday at 8pm, we are airing Justice is Blind. This is a two hour drama based on a true story about a blind attorney who is driven by his desire to help the weak. Clients question Kensuke Okouchi’s ability to represent them effectively because of his handicap, but his intelligence and intuitiveness prove them wrong.
Tuesday, January 5th, the taiga drama Hana Moyu will air from 7-8pm. This will be followed by a 2-1/2 hour Chushingura special. This version of the famous 47 ronin story stars Masakazu Tamura as Kuranosuke Oishi and Tetsuji Tamayama as Takuminokami Asano.
Wednesday night, traditionally our Mystery Theatre night, we are airing The Last Witness. This is a drama about a former prosecutor who left public service to open his own private practice specializing in criminal cases. One day, a businessman asks Sadato Sakata to defend him. The businessman is accused of murdering a woman he was having an affair with. The crime appears open and shut: fingerprints, bloodstains, and security camera footage all point to the businessman as being guilty. But the businessman insists he is innocent, and Sadato’s intuition leads him to believe him and accept the case.
Finally, on Thursday, January 7th, we are airing Risking It All: Orange from 8-10pm. This drama is about the fire department’s Special Rescue Team, the men in orange uniforms. Only three percent of firefighters qualify to join this elite team, and must undergo rigorous training to be accepted in to Orange. The training is so harsh trainees themselves question the purpose and necessity. That is, until they learn how many lives were lost following the Great Hanshin Earthquake because rescue teams were ill-prepared to deal with the disaster. The desire to not repeat past mistakes is what drives Orange.
Here is the complete list of specials, along with original Japanese titles:
Friday, 1/1/16 5-10pm 66th Annual Kohaku Utagassen
Saturday, 1/2/16 11am-4pm 66th Annual Kohaku Utagassen Retelecast
Saturday, 1/2/16 7-8:30pm Big Guys With One Dish Tour (Ishi-chan to Furiwake Oyakata no Toriwake Tabi)
Saturday, 1/2/16 8:30-10pm Journey to the Moon (Tsuki ni Yuku Fune)
Sunday, 1/3/16 7-8pm Hana Moyu, episode #47
Sunday, 1/3/16 8-10pm My Home, My Town (Waga ie)
Monday, 1/4/16 12N-2pm My Home, My Town Retelecast
Monday, 1/4/16 7-8pm Madame Butterfly, Pt. 1 (Chou-Chou San)
Monday, 1/4/16 8-10pm Justice is Blind (Moumoku no Boku ga Bengoshi ni Natta Riyuu)
Tuesday, 1/5/16 12N-2pm Justice is Blind Retelecast
Tuesday, 1/5/16 7-8pm Hana Moyu, episode #48
Tuesday, 1/5/16 8-10:30pm Chushingura
Wednesday, 1/6/16 12N-2:30pm Chushingura Retelecast
Wednesday, 1/6/16 7-8pm Madame Butterfly, Pt. 2
Wednesday, 1/6/16 8-10pm The Last Witness (Saigo no Shonin)
Thursday, 1/7/16 12N-2pm The Last Witness Retelecast
Thursday, 1/7/16 7-8pm Madame Butterfly, Pt. 3
Thursday, 1/7/16 8-10pm Risking It All: Orange (Inochigakede Tatakatta Shoboushi no Monogatari)
Friday, 1/8/16 12N-2pm Risking It All: Orange Retelecast
We hope you enjoy our New Year’s specials!