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

TOKYO —

NHK on Monday announced the lineup for its popular New Year’s Eve program “Kohaku Uta Gassen” (Red and White Song Contest). The theme of this year’s contest, being held for the 64th year, is “Songs Are Here.”

Of the 51 acts, three will be making their debut for the Red (women’s) team—E-girls, NMB48 and miwa. Six acts will be making their debut for the White (men’s) team—veteran folk singer Shigeru Izumiya (who is 65), American singer Chris Hart, Sakanaction, Sexy Zone, Tohoku-based folk singer Kohei Fukuda and Linked Horizon.

Other notable acts for the Red team include model-singer Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, AKB48, its sister group SKE48, Momoiro Clover Z, Seiko Matsuda, Perfume, Ayumi Hamasaki, along with veterans Sayuri Ishikawa, appearing for the 36th time, Akiko Wada, in her 37th appearance, and Mariko Takahashi, making her first appearance in 29 years.

The White team includes Arashi, SMAP, Exile, Hiromi Go, Golden Bomber, Tokio and Kiyoshi Hikawa, along with veterans Saburo Kitajima, for his 50th appearance, Shinichi Mori (46th time), Hiroshi Itsuki for the 43rd time and Takeshi Hosokawa (37th time).

See full line-up here.

Actress Haruka Ayase, 28, and all-male pop band Arashi will host the gala.

Arashi will be hosting the show for the fourth consecutive year, while Ayase will be making her debut, taking over from Maki Horikita. Ayase has been starring this year in NHK’s popular “taiga” drama “Yae no Sakura,” the annual historical fiction TV series broadcast Sunday evenings in Japan.

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.

Japan Today

  • 8

    Farmboy

    Though it has lost some of its luster in the past 10 years...

    This is because NHK keeps trying to attract a younger audience instead of playing to the market they have. The younger audience has better options, and the older audience finds the new talent uninteresting. The show is also missing the group spirit of old farts that made it work in the past.

  • 4

    Brainiac

    We still watch it at my place every year. It's a custom, I guess, and definitely better than the other programs on TV, usually featuring Takeshi or some mixed martial arts.

  • 1

    MarkX

    For the past few years, the comedy group Downtown have the show " Waracha Ikanai" and that has dominated the young market on New Year's Eve. I'm not a big fan of the show, but it really attracts the younger viewers!

  • 2

    Hide Suzuki

    @MarkX

    Agreed, the Downtown show is 100 times better than the kohaku concert. I can't watch it more than 10 minutes, it's so amazingly lame and boring.

  • 1

    papigiulio

    Im a big fan of Downtown, but it IS all set up and starting to get boring. But anything better than uta no gassen imo

  • 3

    djv124

    Really excited to see Perfume and AKB and their sister groups on the show! It's going to be fun!

  • 0

    timtak

    If I watch TV at this time it tends to be large men kicking s*** out of each other.

  • -2

    It"S ME

    Really fond of Akiko Wada's jazz-songs both in Japanese and English. She is a staple on that programme.

  • 2

    papasmurfinjapan

    Why anyone would want to spend their NYE sitting in front of the boob tube for 5 hours is really beyond me. I know it's a Japanese "custom" and all, but honestly... put on a jacket, and go to a Shrine (who cares if you don't believe in the Japanese gods- neither do the Japanese), come home, eat some toshi-koshi-soba, drink some hot sake and have a great conversation with your family - sounds much better than spending an evening watching SMAP, AKB and Arashi on TV.

  • 3

    ozymandiaskingofkings

    I will never understand why the "Celebration" of the most important day of the Japanese year consists of sitting in silence staring at this pile of excruciating tosh.

    I have a suspicion I might be enjoying a couple of libations instead. They say life is too short, but it certainly doesn't feel like it when Kohaku Uta Gassen exerts its time-distorting abilities over the eight years NYE seems to last.

  • 0

    dcog9065

    Yeah, I prefer the Gaki no Tsukai show far more than Utagassen. Although on NYE, I'm usually not in watching TV.

  • -4

    Goodwill_Hunting

    Any fans of Akiko Wada out there?

  • 1

    BertieWooster

    Kohaku is one reason why we don't have a TV.

    Watching grass grow is more interesting and much less annoying.

  • 2

    Daijoboots

    Why anyone would want to spend their NYE sitting in front of the boob tube for 5 hours is really beyond me. I know it's a Japanese "custom" and all, but honestly... put on a jacket, and go to a Shrine (who cares if you don't believe in the Japanese gods- neither do the Japanese), come home, eat some toshi-koshi-soba, drink some hot sake and have a great conversation with your family - sounds much better than spending an evening watching SMAP, AKB and Arashi on TV.

    Do you think it might be at all feasible that people watch the show AND have conversation during/between songs, drink, change the channel, go to a shrine after midnight/in the next couple of days, and are quite capable of boozing it up in a fashion more pleasing to you the other 364 nights of the year? Why don't we just make everything the same as back home.

  • 1

    Phil Thompson

    I don't care what Japanese people watch or do on NYE... but that doesn't mean I think it would be a valuable use of MY time - which is why I gave an example of some better things I can think of doing. No need to get your knickers in a knot over it.

  • 1

    aintgottimetobl

    Where can I watch that Timtak ?

  • -2

    CrisGerSan

    It is a wonderful show and always very popular with real people, glad to see AKB48 will be there good.

  • 0

    sighclops

    Oh great another programme, another Arashi appearance... NEXT!

  • 2

    Pat Telzrow

    I think Kohaku is cool

  • 1

    Himajin

    the group spirit of old farts

    That cracked me up.

  • -2

    timtak

    aintgottimetobl Just change channel. Usually there is a Kickboxing K1 or mixed martial arts Pride, now Dream fight on one of the channels on New Years eve. There is nothing like the sound of flesh pummelled. Beats Akiko Wada anyway.

  • 1

    Chiharu Tomon

    I didn’t watch this TV show about 4years, because I didn’t want to watch musicians who joined every year. But this year, Chris Hart will join for it, so I’ll watch only him. His voice is so sweet I think. In Japan, he is singing CM song, I surprised when heard it. So ,I’m looking forward to hear his song on New Year’s Eve.

  • 0

    Saiaku

    What a dream line-up.. GANBATTE, MIWA!! Gooo miwaaaaa!

  • 2

    Bartholomew Harte

    We tape this & watch the acts we like & skip the ones we don't , We Love Enka & Saburo-San is a G O D !!

  • -2

    Mirai Hayashi

    Another roster of the rich and talentless. This show is so boring and pointless now.

  • 2

    kickboard

    Looking forward to "Sakanakushon"

  • 0

    Takae Arakaki

    I think his voice is sweet I think. I watch Kohaku every year and I will watch this year also. I have watched Japanese music TV show who participate foreigners love Japanese songs and cultures. He also participated and he won the championship. I am glad to love Japanese songs and cultures as Japanese.

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