NHK on Thursday announced the lineup for its popular New Year’s Eve program “Kohaku Uta Gassen” (Red and White Song Contest). The contest is being held for the 66th year and the theme is "That's Japan. That's Kohaku."
One big surprise this year is the selection of UNICEF goodwill envoy Tetsuko Kuroyanagi, 82, as general MC. Kuroyanagi first appeared on "Kohaku" as an MC 57 years ago.
The MC of the men's Shirogumi (White Team) will be Yoshihiko Inohara, 39, who is a member of idol group V6, while the MC for the women's Akagumi (Red Team) will be actress Haruka Ayase, 30. NHK announcer Yumiko Udo will assist Kuroyanagi as general MC.
Kuroyanagi, who has hosted the show five times, was the program's youngest MC in 1958 at the age of 25. Although she could not attend Thursday's press event, she sent a video message in which she said that "The first time I was the youngest MC and this time I'm the oldest. No one has done such a thing before, so I feel good about it. I hope I can stay in good health until then."
There will be 51 groups or artists, 10 of whom are making their debut.
Notable acts for the Red Team will be AKB48, Seiko Matsuda, Akiko Wada (making her 39th appearance), Sayuri Ishikawa (38 times), Superfly (debuting) and a special appearance by Sachiko Kobayashi, who is noted for her massive spectacular costumes.
For the White Team, X Japan returns after 18 years, while Masahiko Kondo is back after a 19-year hiatus. Other acts include Shinichi Mori (making his 48th appearance), Hiroshi Istuki (45 times), Takeshi Hosokawa (39), SMAP, Golden Bomber, Tokio and Exile.
Though it has lost some of its luster in the past 10 years, “Kohaku Uta Gassen” is still considered the most prestigious TV music program to be invited to appear on.
See full lineup here.© Japan Today