NEW YEAR’S SPECIAL PROGRAMS
PROGRAMS ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE
“The 66th Annual Red and White Song Contest,” airs on Friday, Jan. 1, from 5-10 p.m.
Köhaku Uta Gassen, more commonly known simply as Köhaku, is an annual music show produced by Japanese broadcaster NHK. The “Red and White Song Contest” is a program that divides the most popular music artists of the year into competing teams of red and white. The red team is composed of all female artists (or groups with female vocals), while the white team is all male (or groups with male vocals). A performance on Köhaku is said to be the highlight of a singer’s career because of the show’s large reach and status.
Köhaku airs in Japan on New Year’s Eve, with the announcement of the winning team taking place at midnight. In Hawai‘i, Köhaku has become a television viewing tradition on New Year’s night, and 2016 marks the 66th year since the program’s inception.
“Big Guys With One Dish Tour,” airs on Saturday, Jan. 2, from 7-8:30 p.m.
Actor/comedian Hidehiko Ishizuka (the “Fat Detective”) and former sumo wrestler Furiwake Oyakata travel around Japan doing what they do best: EATING!!! The friendly but fun competition they have to see who gets to eat each area’s specialty makes this show even more fun to watch.
“Journey to the Moon,” Saturday, Jan. 2, from 8:30-10 p.m.
What is destiny? When a series of circumstances bring two people together, is it meant to be?
Ryota Shinozaki works for a publishing house, and has traveled to a remote town in the mountainous region of Gifu to meet with an author and pick up his latest work. When he arrives at the train station for his return trip, Ryota notices a blind woman in the waiting area.
As he waits for his train, a series of circumstances keeps bringing Ryota and the woman, Rio, together. Finally, Rio confesses she was not at the station to catch a train, but rather, she was there waiting for someone.
“Hanamoyu,” airs on Sunday, Jan. 3, and Tuesday, Jan. 5, from 7-8 p.m.
The 54th NHK taiga drama “Hana Moyu” about the impactful, if somewhat obscure, life of Fumi Sugi (played by popular Japanese actress Mao Inoue). Born in 1843, Fumi is the 4th daughter in the Sugi family, and the younger sister of Bakumatsu-era, Choshu Domain philosopher Shoin Yoshida, the well-known educator and activist who helped spur the Meiji Restoration. After his imprisonment and execution, Fumi continues to influence others to support Shoin’s ideas and teachings during the troubling times at the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate. Many future government leaders emerged from the Choshu Domain, and their successes could be attributed to her strong spirit and determination behind the scenes.
“My Home, My Town,” airs on Sunda, Jan. 3, from 8-10 p.m.
Ippo and Honoka Sakurai grew up in a seaside town and have happy memories of their childhood playing near the ocean. But those memories faded after their father walked out on the family 20 years ago.
And now, although Ippo’s job involves lending support to lonely clients with emotional scars, he himself has difficulty with relationships. He does not even keep in contact with his sister Honoka although they both live and work in Tokyo.
One day, Honoka returns to the family home to announce she is engaged. Ippo happens to return home at the same time. And everyone is shocked when their father shows up unannounced.
“Madame Butterfly,” airs on Monday, Jan. 4, Wednesday, Jan. 6, and Thursday, Jan. 7, from 7-8 p.m.
Cho-Cho is a young woman growing up under her mother and grandmother’s tutelage after the death of her samurai father. After their sudden death, however, Cho-Cho finds herself without the means to support herself, and is adopted by a wealthy family that owns a brothel in Nagasaki.
Her adoptive stepmother promises to continue Cho-Cho’s education, but when she dies unexpectedly, Cho-Cho is forced to become a geisha.
As an apprentice geisha, Cho-Cho meets Franklin, an American naval officer. Seeing in him the samurai spirit of her own father, Cho-Cho marries Franklin. But for Franklin, the marriage is nothing but a relationship of convenience.
Puccini’s tragic opera “Madame Butterfly” is given new life as a TV drama, starring Aoi Miyazaki, who played Atsuhime in the NHK taiga drama of the same name.
“Justice is Blind,” airs on Monday, Jan. 4, from 8-10 p.m.
Kensuke Okouchi is blind, but became a lawyer because of his strong desire to help the weak. One day, a woman named Satomi comes to see Kensuke seeking a divorce. Satomi wishes to end her marriage due to domestic violence, but is unsure whether a blind attorney has the ability to represent her.
“Chushingura,” airs on Tuesday, Jan. 5, from 8-10 p.m.
Ronin are samurai without a leader, and the story of the 47 ronin is perhaps one of the most famous in the history of the samurai.
The story begins with a feud between Yoshinaka Kira, a chief protocol officer of the Shogun, and Takumi Asano, who was hand-picked by the Shogun to act as his representative with members of the Imperial family. Kira resented having to train Asano, and often sought ways to embarrass him. After one such incident, Asano drew his sword on Kira, but did not kill him. Because acts of aggression were forbidden within the palace, Asano was then ordered to commit suicide.
After his death, Asano’s lands and property were confiscated, and his retainers became ronin. Vowing to avenge their lord, the ronin patiently waited for a year, until Kira’s guard was down, before they attacked his compound, killing Kira and avenging their lord.
For this act, the ronin were ordered to commit suicide. But their story lives on for its example of loyalty and the samurai code of bushido.
“The Last Witness,” airs on Wednesday, Jan. 6, from 8-10 p.m.
Sadato Sakata was a highly regarded public prosecutor but now has his own law practice and specializes in criminal cases. One day, Sadato accepts a request to defend a successful businessman accused of murdering a woman he was having an affair with. The crime appears open and shut: fingerprints, bloodstains, and security camera footage all indicate Kuniaki Shimazu is guilty. But Shimazu insists he is innocent, and Sadato’s intuition leads him to accept the case.
“Orange: Risking It All,” airs on Thursday, Jan. 7, from 8-10 p.m.
Men in orange uniforms represent the fire department’s Special Rescue Team, an elite force only three percent of firefighters are qualified to join.
The challenges firefighters in orange encounter are incredible, but the rigorous conditions they must first pass to get into orange are equally demanding. Yuuchi Kohinata, himself a former “Orange” member, trains potential firefighters for acceptance into Orange. Kohinata is both haunted and driven by his own experience responding to victims of the 1995 Kobe earthquake.
“High School Chorus” (TBS), premieres on Sunday, Jan. 10, at 8 p.m.
At one time, the chorus club at Omotesando High School was famous for its top-notch program. As high school students, both of Makoto Kagawa’s parents were part of the club, and their many positive memories of high school are centered around their chorus experiences.
So when the Kagawa family moves to Tokyo, joining the club becomes Makoto’s dream. But things are not as they once were.
The club barely has any members, and its instructor, who ironically first taught Makoto to sign, has lost his passion. Can Makoto be the catalyst for the club’s revival?
“Age Harassment (TV Asahi),” premieres on Monday, Jan. 18, at 8 p.m.
Emiri Yoshii has it all: brains, youth, and beauty. She lands a position in a top rated trading company and seems to be on the fast track for success.
But she quickly realizes the old guard of the department she’s in is only paying lip service to equality in the workplace, and all they see is her youth and beauty.
To make matters worse, she also becomes the target of jealousy from older female staff.
Will Emiri be able to change the mentality of her company?
“Homicide Team 9 – Season 5 (TV Asahi),” premieres on Thursday, Jan. 21, at 8 p.m.
Homicide Team 9 which is composed by the few elites, is the most unusual team in criminal investigation divisions of the Metropolitan Police Department. They are always the top as criminal arrest rate. They try to solve criminal cases with struggling and cooperating each other.
“Big Family in a Small Village, Part 1,” airs on Sunday, Jan. 31, at 7 p.m.
In a tiny little mountain village located in the Miyoshi district of Tokushima prefecture on Shikoku island lives a family of 14 people: mother, father, three sons, eight daughters, and a grandmother. The scenery is beautiful: blue skies, green forests, and clear streams filled with fish. Nature provides fertile soil for growing vegetables, and there isn’t a more idyllic spot to live. See how the Big Family survives in their little village, growing their own food, living in their isolated little village, away from the hustle and bustle of modern Japan.
“Doctors Special, Part 1” (TV Asahi), airs on Sunday, Jan. 31, at 9 p.m.
A two hour special based on the popular Doctors series about Kousuke Sagara, a highly skilled surgeon working at a corrupt hospital. There is a kind side to Kousuke that is evident in his dealings with his patients, but behind his skill and kindness lies a mysterious dark side.