MIRACLE BODY: Russia’s Golden Mermaids
DOCUMENTARIES: Sports and Activities
This documentary scientifically investigates two of Russia’s top synchronized swimmers. It reveals how their bodies have evolved to gain an ability akin to that of aquatic mammals. Russia's golden duo shows how years of targeted training can turn the impossible into the possible.
Miracle Lesson - World's Greatest Coaches and their Students: Basketball Muggsy Bogues(USA)
EDUCATION: Middle School
What happens when the world’s greatest coaches have a chance to teach children? This documentary series explores how children grow during a week of special lessons with such a coach. (The show also distills the essence of coaching by highlighting words of wisdom from these guest coaches.) This episode features Tyrone “Muggsy” Bogues – a legendary American basketball player who had a 14-year career in the NBA, despite standing just 5 feet 3 inches tall. The shortest player in NBA history, he directed his team on-court as the playmaker. Muggsy, now 50, visits a boys’ basketball team from a public middle school in old-town Tokyo, for a week of special coaching. The boys are low on confidence and lack game experience, but with Muggsy’s encouragement, they amaze their parents and teachers as they improve and grow through the week.
Water, Not Weapons: The Greening of Afghanistan
DOCUMENTARIES: Global Issues
Through decades of combat in war-torn Afghanistan, a Japanese man has been waging a different battle, against the ravages of drought. Tetsu Nakamura is a 70 year-old physician. Beginning in 1991, he opened three clinics to provide medical service in the mountainous eastern region of the country. However, a historic drought that began in 2000 led to shortages of water and food, causing the deaths of many children. From the perspective of providing medical care, “One irrigation canal will do more good than 100 doctors!” Nakamura shed his physician’s white coat and set out to build an irrigation canal. 16 years later, the plains have turned green again and local people have returned to farming with renewed security. Nakamura declares, “Weapons and tanks don’t solve problems. The revival of farming is the cornerstone of Afghanistan’s recovery.” The program follows Nakamura’s 16 years of unrelenting effort, to examine the question of what kind of aid will assist Afghanistan the most.
The Fukushima accident in March 2011 turned the surrounding villages into a desolate land. Without a human presence wildlife thrives there. Houses are torn down by wildly grown plants and black rats that gnaw wood pillars. The land is also roamed by predators like civets, macaques, and wild boars. A project is now underway to investigate the deserted areas by attaching a GPS device, dosimeter, and camera to the wild boars and record the conditions of the once Arcadian farming hills. The program also explores the first ever research of the effects of radiation on primate species.
Before the Holocaust: The Nazi Euthanasia Program
The Holocaust of Nazi Germany is widely known as the greatest tragedy in human history. However, it is far less well known that, before the massacre of the Jews, more than 200,000 Germans with psychological and cognitive disabilities, and patients with incurable diseases were killed in gas chambers. It was only 6 years ago that Germans began to confront the dark reality of the slaughter of the disabled, which amounted to a “rehearsal” for the Holocaust. The professional association of German psychiatrists apologized for their previous involvement in the killing program and appointed a third-party committee to investigate its history. The committee’s report was released in the fall of 2015, 70 years after the end of the war, and it revealed how deeply medical personnel had colluded with the Nazi government and taken the lead in the killing. This program travels with a leader of the disabled community in Japan (who is visually disabled himself) to Germany to visit surviving family members and scholars, to examine the past and reflect upon the challenges it poses us today, across the distance of time and geography.
APP The Professionals: My Philosophy
WEB & WEB TV: Mobile Apps, Interactive Tools
“The Professionals” is a popular NHK TV show that turns the spotlight on top professionals in diverse fields, takes an in-depth look at their work, and reveals their philosophies about work. The show has been running for more than 10 years. It has featured more than 300 professionals as diverse as athletes and an internationally renowned animator. The show’s appeal lies in a simple description of each professional’s philosophy accompanied by dramatic sound and music. In December 2015, NHK launched a now-popular smartphone app that enables people to create videos about themselves using the TV show’s format. All one needs to do is shoot a video and enter one’s name and philosophy. In just five minutes, the user can create a video that makes him or her appear to have been featured on the TV show.
Entertainment: Music Clips