With just over a month remaining in 2009, Japanese eyes are beginning to turn towards the annual "Kohaku Uta Gassen" New Year's Eve television extravaganza.
Unlike the West, New Year's Eve in Japan is a fairly tame affair. Many stay home and watch Kohaku, which literally means "Red White."
In a nutshell, the program is a singing "battle." The great and famous from Japan's music world are divided into Red (female) and White (male) teams. A panel of almost as famous judges evaluates each act, and then just prior to the tolling of the temple bells to ring in the new year one team is declared the winner.
To generate excitement, the eagerly awaited list of guests on the NHK program was recently announced.
Here is this year's lineup:
GIRL NEXT DOOR
DREAMS COME TRUE
FUNKY MONKEY BABYS
The lineup is a mix of old and new, from Saburo Kitajima who will be making his 46th appearance on the program to first timer Arashi.
On the women's side two stalwarts will be leading the charge: Kyoto's Kumi Koda and veteran Akiko Wada.
Another highlight is the annual outfit worn by Kenichi Mikawa - pictured above - ever the campy performer.
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Tuesday, November 24, 2009