SEPTEMBER SPECIALS AND PREMIERE DATES
“Love or Duty: Samurai Rebellion,” airs on Wednesday, Sept. 2, at 8 p.m.
In the Edo period of Japan, a samurai’s life belonged to his lord. On the battlefield or in the home, a loyal samurai must always obey his lord’s commands. This is the tragic story of one such loyal samurai, whose love for his family forced him to make the ultimate choice of disobeying the wishes of his lord.
“Shinzanmono Special,” airs on Wednesday, Sept. 9, at 8 p.m.
A man unrelated to the famous Takayanagi Ballet Company is found dead in the company’s office. How did he get there? What was he doing there? What are the ballerinas hiding?
Detective Kyochiro Kaga is back in this special “Shinzanmono” special.
“Oyaji Samurai Special (NHK),” airs on Sunday, Sept. 13, at 8 p.m.
“Oyaji Samurai” is about Kotoji Akame, a shabby, middle-aged, low-ranking samurai of small stature. “Oyaji” means “older man,” but the actual title of this drama is “Yoidore Kotoji,” which translates to drunken samurai (or drunken Kotoji). Kotoji’s drinking often gets him into trouble, as evidenced by what happens in the 1-1/2 hour special which precedes the drama series that starts on Sept. 27.
“Making It Through Special 2015,” airs in two parts on Monday, Sept. 14, at 8 pm. and Saturday, Sept. 20, at 8 p.m.
It’s been two years since the “Making It Through” series ended. What has happened in those two years? How are Daikichi Okakura and his five daughters? Are couples still together? Have there been more marriages? Or divorces? Tune in for this “Making It Through” special to catch up on the entire Okakura family.
“Black Gospel (TV Asahi),” airs on Wednesday, Sept. 16, at 8 p.m.
When a young woman’s body is found one early morning in Tokyo, the only clues to her death are her handbag, an express delivery envelope, and the peaceful expression on her face. That peaceful expression plus no evidence of a struggle leads police to initially rule her death as a suicide. But upon further examination, the cause of her death is determined to be suffocation, and semen is also found at the scene of the crime.
As detectives Rokuro Fujisawa and Yoshitaka Ichimura investigate the crime, they discover that a car with foreign license plates owned by a young priest was seen near the crime scene the night of the incident. Further complicating the matter, the priest was the person who sent the express delivery envelope.
Was the priest involved in the crime?
“Black Gospel” is another fascinating tale from the master of intrigue, Seicho Matsumoto.
“Pro Bono (TV Asahi),” airs on Thursday, Sept. 17, at 8 p.m.
A young, mentally retarded boy is wrongfully accused of murder, but his family lacks the means to hire an attorney to defend him. The boy’s sister, Kiriko, pleads with an accomplished attorney named Otsuka to defend her brother pro bono.
But because of Otsuka’s busy schedule and other priorities, he refuses to take the case. Lacking a proper defense, Kiriko’s brother is eventually convicted of murder, and dies in prison.
From that point on, Kiriko is determined to take revenge against Otuska.
“Mission to Kill Special,” airs on Friday, Sept. 18, at 8 p.m.
Shigotonin are assassins hired by victims of crime to avenge wrongs committed against them. Hiring an assassin would also be considered a crime, but when you get to know the victims, you come to sympathize with them.
“Kinako (TV Asahi),” airs on Saturday, Sept. 19, at 7 p.m.
“Kinako” is a documentary about a police dog who repeatedly failed at her police dog trials, and her trainer, who refused to accept that Kinako was a failure.
The trainer’s name is Kyoko Mochizuki. Kyoko was 18 when she was admitted to the police dog training academy to begin her lifelong dream of training police dogs. Soon after, Kyoko met Kinako, a Labrador retriever puppy.
Despite Kyoko’s efforts, Kinako repeatedly fails her tests, but Kyoko refuses to give up. With patience, determination, and tenacity, Kyoko continues to work with Kinako, believing that one day, her hard work will be rewarded.
“Ishizuka Special,” airs on Saturday, Sept. 19, at 8:30 p.m.
The Fat Detective is at it again! This time, Ishizuka-san is accompanied by sumo wrestler Oyakata as they explore Japan, tasting the specialty foods of each area.
“Doctor X 3,” premieres on Monday, Sept. 21, at 9 p.m.
The third season of “Doctor X.” Michiko Daimon is a freelance doctor who was dispatched to a university hospital who lost a number of doctors all at once due to harsh work conditions.
She visits an island. Due to an accident by a luxury liner, some of its passengers are injured. Among the injured passengers, she finds Ryonosuke who is an ex-hospital director, and treats his wound.
Later, Ryonosuke is hospitalized at the National Center for Advanced Medical Care. He has suffered from a cardiac tumor and hepatocellular carcinoma. At the conference for Ryonosuke’s upcoming surgery, two factions of the National Center for Advanced Medical Care have an intense argument over his surgery. Michiko suddenly appears at the warlike conference and tells them that Ryonosuke is her patient.
“Behind the Noren (Fuji),” premieres on Tuesday, Sept. 22, at 9 p.m.
“Noren” is the short curtain often seen hanging at the entrance to a Japanese business. This is a family drama about the laughs, tears, and battles between a mother-in-law, the madam of an old-style Japanese inn (ryokan) and her new daughter-in-law, that go on behind the curtain.
Naoko, a career woman working in Tokyo, marries the eldest son of a family that owns a distinguished traditional inn in Kanazawa. Naoko’s new mother-in-law, Shino, views her as an outsider and refuses to accept her.
However, when Naoko’s husband Sosuke abruptly disappears one day, leaving behind a large debt, Naoko tells Shino about her plan to work at the inn to pay off Sosuke’s debts.
“Stork’s Nest,” airs on Wednesday, Sept. 23, at 8 p.m.
Single mothers or parents unable to raise their children face the stigma of dishonor and shame from society. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Japan.
But what option is there if they are unable to raise their child?
The caring directors of a hospital in Kumamoto City decided to do something about it. In 2007, they converted part of the hospital facility to accommodate people who wanted to anonymously deposit unwanted babies. Response was overwhelming and soon mothers from across the country were coming to deposit babies at the cradle.
This drama tells the story of the creation of “Stork’s Cradle” and depicts the lives of some of the mothers who came to use the cradle.
“Oyaji Samurai (NHK),” premieres on Sunday, Sept. 27, at 8 p.m.
Introduce yourself to the series by watching the “Oyaji Samurai Special” on Sept. 13.
One day, after drinking too much alcohol in a drinking contest, Kotoji fails to perform a major duty for his lord. As a result, he is released from service and becomes a wandering samurai. To avenge his lord, Kotoji comes up with a scheme to steal the lances (spears) that are the symbols of prestige for traveling processions of feudal families. He steals the lances of several families, which creates an unlikely alliance amongst them as they scheme to avenge their losses.
In the series, Kotoji’s desire to settle down and spend the rest of his days quietly continues to be disrupted by samurai seeking revenge for the stolen lances.
And as Kotoji finds himself picking up the sword again, he also deals with love and raising a child for the first time in his life, and begins to find a new meaning in life.