Kouhaku performers’ names revealed

By TERRY - Last updated: 火曜日, 11月 24, 2009 - Save & Share - 3 Comments

  On this Nov.23rd, a public holiday of “Kinrou Kansha no hi” (Labor Thanksgiving Day) in Japan, NHK (Nihon Housou Kyoukai/ Japan Broadcasting Corporation) revealed the list of performers of the 60th ” Kouhaku Uta Gassen ” (紅白歌合戦/ white and red song festival) . http://www9.nhk.or.jp/kouhaku/artists/index.html    Kouhaku or the year-end grand song festival is a nationwide popular annual year-end grand song festival on the new year’s eve  broadcast by NHK. 

 This year Kouhaku is to celebrate its memorable 60th anniversary. “60 years” has a very special meaning in the Asian philosophy , for  the Oriental  Zodiac goes round in 12 years as it includes 12 animals and 5 rounds makes the perfect circuit to come back to the very first start point. Therefore,  traditionally people have celebrated their 60th birthday as a special birthday calling “Kanreki”(還暦/ completion of one life cycle) wearing a red cloths which is believed to have a magic power to ward off evil.   A person who has celebrated his/her Kanreki is regarded as an elderly and well-versed member of  society. In that sense, our Kouhaku,which has been loved by so many Japanese people nationwide regardless of  generations, genders, areas, and so forth,  now has a right to celebrate its longevity as one of  today’s Japanese art scenes’  symbol.

  The performers are divided into two teams, “Shiro gumi” (the White Team) mainly consisting of male singers and groups, and “Aka gumi”(the Red Team) mainly formed of female singers and groups. Each team has 25 singers(or groups) some of which are young  idols, some of which are old Enka(Japanese popular ballads)singers, and others. Like the broad diversity of the viewers of the program, the performers generation, music genres, and other standards are varied. At the end of the festival, votes of the panel and  the audience will choose the winning team. Some singers are chosen only once, some twice,  some never…   But some keep being chosen many times, such as Saburo Kitajima (北島三郎), a versed male enka singer who has been chosen for this year again of  the 45th time –this is the highest number of the performers this time. 

Kouhaku, therefore, has been worked as a “barometer of  popularity” of singers and musicians and to be chosen  a “Kouhaku performer” is a great honor and proof of an up-to-date popular state of a music artist.

 This year 8 singers(including groups) have debuted at Kouhaku, such as Arashi (嵐), a very  popular young male idols  group of  five, and Nana Mizuki (水樹奈々), a popular female anime voice actor as well as a singer of  anime songs. As a voice actor, she has been chosen the very first performer in Kouhaku’s  long history. This marvelous record is a symbol of the high popularity of anime,manga, and other Japanese pop cultures and that they  have begun to be accepted by the most conservative  people and the general public.  Arashi


 Personally, what has made me so happy this time is AKB48, a young female idols group of more than one hundred  that I referred to in my previous update http://www.tenkai-japan.com/2009/11/13/the-20th-anniversary-of-the-emperors-enthronement/  successfully  made to the redebut. AKB48 in NYC 



 AKB48 debuted  at Kouhaku two years ago on Dec.31 2007 when almost  all the members of AKB48 performed  on the stage and there was a hot and magnific competition between AKB and Hello! Project (or just “Haropuro”) which is also a young female idols group. Both AKB and Haropuro, however, were not chosen for Kouhaku in 2008 last year, which disappointed the members and fans of the two groups, especially fans of  Haropuro for that group had kept chosen 10 times in a row until 2007. This time as only AKB has been chosen again, Haropuro a “regular performer of Kouhaku” which also has an older history and career as idols group might be shocked  more seriously than last year’s situation… Haropuro has a long and glorious history as a national idols group which has had some popular subgroups, such as Morning Musume(モーニング娘。), BerryzKoubou(Berryz工房), ゜C-ute, and others.  I also liked that group though I feel the group seems mannerist a little these days.  On the other hand, AKB’s  growing popularity and energy seem accelerating and remarkable compared to the a bit lethargic situation last year.

What has also made me happy is one of the hosts of  the TV show is  Yukie Nakama (仲間由紀恵), a popular female actor who in widely known as the actor of  the heroine of some popular TV shows and movies, such as “TRICK”, “Gokusen”,   G@me  ,”Ring 0~ Birthday”, and so forth. YUkie Nakama


 She has served as a host of Kouhaku three times and this is to be the fourth time.  One of the other hosts is Masahiro Nakai(中居正広), the leader of  extremely popular male idols group SMAP.  Nakai has served as a host five times, twice of which he served with Nakama.  Moreover, Nakai and Nakama played parts of  a husband and wife in a movie “Watashi wa kai ni naritai” (「私は貝になりたい」/ ”I want to become a shell”)in 2008.   Therefore, I think they can work together very well as seasoned hosts of Kouhaku at this memorable time of the show.

I really like Nakama and  even I am a member of  Pleasure, the official fans’ club of  Nakama.  At the moment she plays the leading part of a popular  TV suspense drama “Untouchable” (アンタッチャブル) and she will be playing the part of Naoko Yamada, the heroine of one of  Nakama’s most popular TV shows “TRICK” in the third film version  next year.  Nakama’s image entirely changes depending on each of her works  respectively; a comical and funny girl, a tragic princess, a  savvy career woman, and so forth…  Such drastically changeable characters’  images and her splendid talent which enables her to have them may be the prominent attractive points of the actor.

  I am looking forward to seeing my favorite AKB48 and Yukie Nakama on this Dec.31st in the Kouhaku show on TV with my family, recalling all the things that will have happened this year very much.

Posted in Old and New Cultural Scenes in Japan • Tags: Top Of Page
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3 Responses to “Kouhaku performers’ names revealed”

Pingback from One day in Kamakura with great NIGAOE artists (Part 1) | Tenkai-japan: Cool Japan Guide – Travel, Shopping, Fashion, J-pop, etc.
Time 14/01/2010 at 17:11

[…] eve every year  for the second time on Dec.31st 2009 as I wrote on a previous page here. http://www.tenkai-japan.com/2009/11/24/kouhaku-performers-names-revealed/   Both Suiensaa (on NHK Educational TV)and  Kouhaku(on NHK  General TV and NHK BS2) are aired […]

Pingback from Nana Mizuki(/水樹奈々) scores the first number-one hit with”PHANTOM MINDS” on the ORICON hit charts as a voice actor | Tenkai-japan: Cool Japan Guide – Travel, Shopping, Fashion, J-pop, etc.
Time 20/01/2010 at 09:00

[…] as the very first voice actor to perform in the 60-year-long history of  that  great TV show.  http://www.tenkai-japan.com/2009/11/24/kouhaku-performers-names-revealed/    And as I also wrote, her team ” Team Red ” couldn’t win at the event, her […]

Pingback from AKB48 set an astonishing record again~”Sakura no Shiori” hit the No.1 and something more at the Oricon Weekly Chart | Tenkai-japan: Cool Japan Guide – Travel, Shopping, Fashion, J-pop, etc.
Time 28/02/2010 at 02:07

[…] has become a nationally popular idol group, which I referred to on previous pages (such as,  http://www.tenkai-japan.com/2009/11/24/kouhaku-performers-names-revealed/  ) a few times here, hit the number one at the Oricon Weekly Chart under the date of  the […]

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