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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Kohaku 2013

Kohaku Uta GassenKohaku is a male-vs-female singing face-off between famous entertainers in Japan run by Japan's public broadcaster, NHK. "Ko" is the kanji for "red" and stands for the women; "haku" is for white and represents the men.

Begun as a radio program immediately after Japan's loss in WW2, Kohaku became a TV program as well in 1953 and has remained a staple of NHK's New Year programming every year.

This year, 2013, is Kohaku's 64th. The most talked-about planned new appearance is that of the recently risen star, Chris Hart, a 29-year-old San Franciscan now living in Japan who has wowed Japan for the past year with his soulful renditions of J-pop songs and enka. Hart's first album, Heart Song, reached no.3 on Japan's Oricon charts this year—a sign of stunning success in Japan's huge music industry, which almost equals the revenues of the U.S.

Other new men's acts will be the 65-year-old nostalgia-folk singer Izumiya Shigeru; the five-member rock band from Hokkaido, Sakanaction; the five downy-cheeked twinks of Sexy Zone (yet another use-by-next-year product of the Johnny's and Associates talent agency); traditional crooner, Fukuda Kohei; and self-proclaimed "fantasy band," Linked Horizon. The all-time veteran of Kohaku, the 65-year-old Itsuki Hiroshi, will be appearing for the 43rd time.

New women's acts will be E-girls, a choir-sized recycling of members—aged 13 to 26—of several previous girl groups; NMB48, the over-the-top camp girl revue from Osaka; and miwa, the 23-year-old singer-songwriter. The longest serving female this time will be Akiko Wada with her 37th appearance.

Kohaku will air on December 31 2013 from 7:15 pm to 11:45 pm on both NHK TV and radio.

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