entertainment

NHK announces lineup for 'Kohaku Uta Gassen' on New Year's Eve

45 Comments

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

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

45 Comments
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Is this NHK's version of a zombie drama? It's like Night of the Living Dead every New Year's Eve.

-1 ( +10 / -11 )

Is this NHK's version of a zombie drama? It's like Night of the Living Dead every New Year's Eve.

Is this the JT version of a zombie complaint? It's like the cafeteria of an old-folks home every year when they announce the lineup.

-3 ( +8 / -11 )

Hey they have X-japan, that's quite big. Kobayashi Sachiko too has been kind of rare lately. Most of the rest I'd rather not be exposed to though. I suppose it's sort of like Eurovision?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Ugh. This show is a staple at the in-law's house during new year, and is why I keep an emergency stash of shochu.

With any luck, I'll pass out just before the show starts and wake up just in time to get back to work.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Well, that's a good reason to start drinking early on New Years Eve. Blimey, I'd rather go to the dentist.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

X-Japan. Wow, they actualy will have a band that plays instruments.

This is quite possibly a first no?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Johnny's... AKB... what a SURPRISE! Nice to see where our NHK tax is going!

4 ( +6 / -2 )

One big surprise this year is the selection of UNICEF goodwill envoy Tetsuko Kuroyanagi, 82

Correction: No surprise this year is the selection of UNICEF World Heritage Site Tetsuko Kuroyanagi, 82

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

SenseNotSoCommon: Correction: No surprise this year is the selection of UNICEF World Heritage Site Tetsuko Kuroyanagi, 82

C'mon ... you know you'll tune in this year just in case she might join the Swimsuit Competition ...

0 ( +5 / -5 )

I like this show actually. It beats the tired Downtown antics of butt spanking and sophomoric weenie jokes.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

turbostat,

I'm rubbing my knees in anticipation.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

SenseNotSoCommon,

just don't go any higher!!!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I like this show actually. It beats the tired Downtown antics of butt spanking and sophomoric weenie jokes.

To each his or her own, but personally, I think NOTHING beats butt spanking and sophomoric weenie jokes

1 ( +3 / -2 )

So, Kohaku is just going to ride their lifelong viewers as they all go into the grave together.

Does this show just refuse to change in order to be relevant again or because they make up the news anyway that they have no idea how out of date this show is? I mean, this is Japan, so I guess a little of both...

Like @A.N. Other, every year, it's watch this or drink myself into a coma.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

A tip for those of you obliged to go to the in-laws for New Year and forced to watch Uta Gassen - Get a dog.

The pup can't be left in kennels (they're all shut over the holidays, honest, mum-in-law...) and more than likely the in-laws don't want you bringing the dog with you. So you can't go to the in-laws for New Year.

If the in-laws don't mind you bringing the dog with you, at least you're got someone to play with/talk to/teach tricks to while everyone else has eyes glued to the screen. More fun than watching the dinosaurs.

I will not be watching Uta Gassen this year - we had it on once, when the kids were in junior high and wanted to watch what all their friends were going on about. They never asked to watch it again. Got much better things to do as a family. :-)

2 ( +6 / -4 )

If the in-laws don't mind you bringing the dog with you, at least you're got someone to play with/talk to/teach tricks to while everyone else has eyes glued to the screen.

Trouble is, if he sees the mother-in-law, he'll go for her throat.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

So glad I have Netflix.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

AKB and NMB!!!!! This is awesome! Miwa, Perfume, and X JAPAN? Every Year, Kohaku makes me smile. I honestly can't wait to see so many of my favorite artists performing to celebrate the New Year! I am curious though... will Takamina be with AKB since she's supposed to graduate in December, but her graduation concerts moved to March? It's gonna be fun to find out who appears and what songs they play as well!

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

AKB is my passion, as is Perfume (I actually like Perfume a lot more than AKB, but it's kind of hip to like Perfume these days, so I don't have to get on JT and defend them ever). I genuinely think AKB is incredible, and I am happy to explain to anyone why they deserve all the credit in the world for being some of the best that Japan has to offer the world in terms of music and otaku culture. Even IF some Japanese people and Westerners don't think so and want to roll their eyes at that statement. Fine by me, because all those people are missing out on a lot of fun and good times that AKB always has been for me and my fellow wotas who adore them just as much as I do.

YOSHHHHHHH IKUSHOOO!

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

I've got a suggestion folks. If you don't like the program, don't watch it ! It is that simple !

6 ( +9 / -3 )

I am curious though... will Takamina be with AKB since she's supposed to graduate in December, but her graduation concerts moved to March? It's gonna be fun to find out who appears and what songs they play as well!

I can't contain myself.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

“Kohaku Uta Gassen” is still considered the most prestigious TV music program to be invited to appear on.

I'd rather watch wet paint dry. Sitting at home glued to non-talented performances on TV is a boring way to usher in the new year.

@Sense. Me too . . . . can't contain myself!

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Trouble is, if he sees the mother-in-law, he'll go for her throat.

You won't have to go next year, then....

2 ( +3 / -1 )

If you can stand to watch Kuroyanagi Tetsuko's attempts at speech, good luck to you.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Kohaku, love Haruka Ayase as a MC for the girls, but what's with this Inohara? He can't sing, can't act, oh, well, at least he is cheap! Way to go NHK! By the way, have NHK ever thought of why loosing a lot of real good artists? I was a pro singer myself in Japan, tons of years ago, but have never sung before or after a lousy just the noisy sound making AKB48 and similar groups. (they are never Artists.) Just the young stupid girls making sounds un-bearable, and can't sing vocals!!

yukichan

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

So much whining here. If you don't like it, why do you think you have to share your bitterness with the rest of us?

Well, I am delighted to see X-Japan back. They somehow became a cult outside Japan, they have throngs of fans of almost every nationality who even learnt to sing their songs in Japanese. Gonna watch it.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Why isn't HY not on the list?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Go watch Jessica Jones, or The Man in the High Castle, they were released on streaming

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Ernst Schirmer:

As a former pro singer, I think it's really sad that you choose to critique other musical artists. Saying that AKB is just a bunch of girls making noise shows not only a lack of respect for what AKB has done, but also shows that you obviously haven't taken the time to actually listen to their music. Don't think AKB has talent? Watch when NMB hits the stage this year at Kohaku and listen to Sayanee, their Captain, belt it out without relying on lip syncing. That girl has an incredible voice. Or what about Wasamin? She's practically a pro enka singer!

I'm a musician as well, and I honestly would never want to get onto some comment section of some website like Japan Today and bash other musicians and use my musical background as a qualifier to do so. AKB ARE musical artists, just unfortunately very misunderstood, and I'm proud of NHK for inviting acts like AKB on these past few years. It's been REALLY wonderful seeing them make people smile, which at the end of the day, isn't that what music is all about?

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

sugizo from Luna Sea on the geetar, Toshi back from all of his weirdness, Yoshiki...playing drums even though I thought he couldnt anymore cas he wreked hiz neck, Bass...um, that dude..Pata? Heath? I forget. Only tuning in for the X factor.

Its gonna be chewel!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I've got a suggestion folks. If you don't like the program, don't watch it ! It is that simple !

Not so easy if someone else in the family wants it on............

Mental note to self, UNPLUG TV 12/31, unplug TV 12/31!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Anyone else feel like ground hog day when this is on. Lucky for me were avoiding in laws this year and we dont have a TV in our house. Few!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

All these kids seem to be pushing the Enka Artists out of the scene & that will Kill Kohaku alltogether.Don't get me wrong on this but i think there are too many sub-par groups in a show that is supposed to be using only the best of the best on new year , the past decade has seen a slippery slide into mediocraty at best.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I wish NHK would insist that such groups as AKB use live music. I dislike seeing them get up on the stage and merely dancing to recorded music while hiding their moving mouths behind those shielding microphones. At least the applause and laughter aren't pre-recorded ...

2 ( +3 / -1 )

If you don't like the program, don't watch it ! It is that simple !

For many people posting here, I imagine it isn't that simple: if, like many, they're obliged for the sake of year-round harmony to spend the holidays with the in-laws/at the in-laws' place, having Uta Gassen blaring away in the corner of the living room is often more or less de rigeur - either that, or some boring sports programme or drama full of daikon. No one wants the lowly sil or dil coming along trying to change 'tradition'.

At least if you're at home (with the dog?), you have the option of watching something you recorded earlier, or a DVD, or !gasp! talking/playing games with the family.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I usually read a book if they're watching it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I injured my back on New Years Eve afternoon a couple of years ago and was immobilised in bed when this was on. If being crippled with pain is more enjoyable than watching a programme, it's fair to say the programme might not be up to much.

Then again, the brandy and Asa Akira films I got through in the other room helped the hours fly by.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

In the past fifteen years or so I've enjoyed a lot of new years eve sleeping... My in-laws are sensitive enough not to force me watch it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Kyary Pamyu-Pamyu is not in the line-up this year. What gives?!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Kyary is out and Sachiko is in... that's a wash. :)

3 ( +3 / -0 )

For some odd reason my mother-in-law's TV can't pick up the regular NHK-G channel, so we usually find ourselves channel surfing between nature documentaries, footage of people at temples, wrestling-type things and numerous inane variety show/disguised restaurant commercials. I would have said she was better off, but this clearly is not the case.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wow, they got Sachiko Kobayashi back, interesting. Sheena Ringo!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Always glad to see Matsuda Seiko! But why is Miwa Akihiro appearing on the men's team? That is strange.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Seiko-chan ! ! !

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Let's not forget the other Japanese shogatsu tradition...

Surely better than mind-numbing music is watching grown men & now women beat each other's brains out?! Who's excited for Rizin's planned "PRIDE comeback show", now with middle eastern oil barren investors rather than members of said organization which shall not be mentioned here...

I'm excited and hoping for the best anyway

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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