Japanese New Year’s Eve TV show ‘Kōhaku Uta Gassen’

It was quite exciting to spend New Year in Japan. I was very curious about Japanese New Year rituals and we tried participating in as many as possible.

Our Japanese New Year experience began on New Year’s Eve with a popular TV show called ‘Kōhaku Uta Gassen’ (on the channel NHK). It features spectacular performances by Japan’s most famous music artists, as well as some guest appearances by foreign celebrities. It is a legendary tv show and last year was the 62nd edition.

NHK Kohaku presenters

NHK Kōhaku presenters

Jackie Chan on NHK Kohaku

Jackie Chan on NHK Kōhaku

Lady Gaga on NHK Kohaku

Lady Gaga on NHK Kōhaku (live from New York)

There were more traditional performances: (unfortunately blocked by YouTube I think)

Spectacular performances by J-Pop bands:

And even a male singer (at least I hope he/she is male) in a big golden dress:

I found out later that this singer is female (see comments). My apologies, whoever you are!

Even later I found out she is called Akiko Wada.

(Thank you for the infomation Yuko and Ayako.)

The rest of our Japanese New Year adventure is for another post!

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11 thoughts on “Japanese New Year’s Eve TV show ‘Kōhaku Uta Gassen’

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  4. Een heel bijzondere Oudejaarsavond, Helena en Dennis, in een heel bijzonder mooi land.
    Een heel bijzondere belevenis…om daar een Nieuw Jaar in te zetten…
    Grtjs
    Mams x

  5. Glad you are enjoying the Japanese new year traditions. This (or last) year’s Kohaku featured so many old songs that I knew in real time from when I was a little girl it was funny watching it with my mother.

    The lady in kimono above is Yumi Matsutoya or Yuming and she is anything but enka. She is one of the forerunners of the music genre we used to call “new music” which is an extension of folk pop that became a “boom” in the late ’70s (I think) in the form of singer-and-songwriters or bands that wrote their own music. She’s sold millions of records and has been known to refuse to appear on Kohaku and this was only the second time she came on in her long and successful career which does suggest that she’s on the decline.

    As for Akiko Wada, the tall lady in the gold dress, she’s considered the Aretha Franklin of Japan, soulful and bluesy in her singing, though this year’s performance was very so so where she performed her biggest hit and a very well known song. She does dress quite gracefully especially at Kohaku which is an interesting contrast to her bossy and masculine nature.

    • Thank you for the explanation! I will correct the statement about enka. I thought that was what enka sounded like, but I (clearly) don’t really know much about it.

      The dress for Akiko Wada indeed seemed quite a contrast with her hairstyle. I wonder why she doesn’t change it if people sometimes think she is a man… In any case my apologies to her.

      • She used to have longer hair when she was young but I believe the consensus is that this hairstyle suits her. She looks very confident and it makes her head seem small which looks better on TV. She’s actually too famous for people to mistake her for a guy. 😉

  6. Happy New Year, Helena 🙂
    hope you had a great holidays!
    and I’m happy to know that you had fun watching Japanese TV program on New Year’s Eve.
    in this season, we have a lot of special programs and it’s hard to choose to watch!
    unfortunately, i didn’t watch Kohaku-Uta-Gassen , but it must be fun!
    well, one thing I have to tell, the person on the golden dress is female.
    No wonder you think she is a male. sometimes japanese make joke of her because she is very tall and talk like male.

    anyway, see you soon!

    • Wow, I can’t believe it. My apologizies to this person! She should definitely change her hairstyle then 🙂 Thank you for telling me!

      I hope you had fun on New Year too!

      Hopefully we will see each other soon. Are you going to the next meet and greet? Do you know when it is?

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