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Friday, December 30, 2016

Kohaku Uta Gassen 2016

Kohaku Uta GassenThis year's Kohaku Uta Gassen is the 67th installment of this long-running New Year's Eve institution, which is watched by millions of people around Japan.

Kohaku 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.

The main theme of this year's program is "Let's sing a dream." However, not far below the happy and well-run surface, is a much larger issue. SMAP - the nation's leading boy band - is breaking up after a quarter century and will not be appearing. Short of divine intervention, the "boys" (most of the members are now in their early 40s), an institution, are finished. Rumors are rife.

Another large theme is that this may be the final program in the Heisei Era as the current Emperor may abdicate in the coming year.

The White (men's) team is led by Masaki Aiba from the boy band Arashi - the heirs to SMAP. Actress Kasumi Arimura leads the Red (women's) team.

Hiraku Utada and Puffy will make their debut appearances. Hiroshi Itsuki is making his 46th appearance.

Kohaku will air on December 31 2015 from 7:15 pm to 11:45 pm on both NHK TV and radio. The venue is NHK Hall in Tokyo's Shibuya district.

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