Two Homelands

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Local broadcaster Japan Hollywood Network will air the mini-series about Japanese Americans beginning July 21.

From left, Tsuyoshi Muro, Mikako Tabe and Shun Oguri in “Two Homelands,” based on the novel by Toyoko Yamasaki. Oguri plays a Japanese American torn between two cultures during World War II, in the mini-series that debuts July 21 on JHN Ch. 44. (TV Tokyo)

Japan Hollywood Network, which airs Japanese-language programs locally on Channel 44.1, will broad­cast the Japanese TV drama “Two Homelands” on Sundays at 6:30 p.m., beginning July 21.

The four-part series, a dramatiza­tion of Toyoko Yamazaki’s novel of the same name (Japanese title: “Futatsu no Sokoku”), centers around a family bond torn between Japan and America during the tumultuous days of World War II.

Aired to wide acclaim earlier this year in Japan, the series is subtitled in English for the U.S. release.

The story follows American-born Kenji Amoh (played by Shun Oguri), who grew up in Japan, studied at UCLA, and works as a journalist for the fictitious Kashu Shimpo, a Japanese-language news­paper in Los Angeles.

American-born Kenji Amoh (Shun Oguri) leaves his job as a journalist and joins the Military Intelligence Service after the war breaks out. (TV Tokyo)

In one of his editorials, Amoh wrote, “To be an upstanding Ameri­can citizen, one must make an effort to be a good Japanese,” and had lived his life to uphold that belief.

However, once the war in the Pacific is under way, Amoh’s envi­ronment takes a drastic change. His family, spanning three generations, is divided between homelands and allegiances. Along with thousands of other Nikkei families, they are sent to an internment camp, forced into a confined life.

As the Nisei are pressured in choosing loyalty to one country, America or Japan, Amoh’s younger brother volunteers to be part of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, while Kenji joins the Military Intel­ligence Service as a linguist in hopes of ending the war early with informa­tion warfare.

Meanwhile, the other younger brother, who had been studying in Japan when the war broke out, is drafted into the Japanese military and sent to the Philippines.

Kenji himself is also sent there as the leader of the U.S. linguist team.

The star-studded cast includes Mikako Tabe, Riisa Naka, Kengo Kora, Mackenyu, Tsuyoshi Muro, Toru Nakamura, Tetsushi Tanaka, Lily Franky, Kimiko Yo, Masatoshi Nakamura, Shigeru Izumiya, Yumi Asou and Beat Takeshi.

Yamazaki’s novel was also the basis of the NHK TV drama “Sanga Moyu” in 1984.

The regular JHN schedule of Sunday night programs – “Banana­man’s Gotcha Gourmet” and “Aibou 17” – will be on break during the special airing of “Two Homelands.” The normal schedule will resume Aug. 18.

JHN broadcasts over the air on Ch. 44.1, a free signal that can be re­ceived with a standard TV antenna.

Several cable and satellite provid­ers also carry Channel 44. For more details about local cable listings in Southern California and programing, visit www.jhollywoodnet.com.

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