NHK Kōhaku Uta Gassen (Japanese: NHK紅白歌合戦, Hepburn: Enu Eichi Kei Kōhaku Uta Gassen, "NHK Red and White Song Battle"[1]), more commonly known simply as Kōhaku, is an annual New Year's Eve television special produced by Japanese public broadcaster NHK. It is broadcast live simultaneously on television and radio, nationally and internationally by the NHK network and by some overseas (mainly cable) broadcasters who buy the program. The show ends shortly before midnight. Before the show began broadcasting on television in late 1953, the show was held on 3 January and only consisted of a radio broadcast.

Kōhaku Uta Gassen
Logo since the 72nd edition (2022)
Also known asNHK Kōhaku Uta Gassen
Created byTsumoru Kondo
Ending themeHotaru no Hikari
Country of originJapan
Original languageJapanese
No. of episodes74 contests
Production locationsTokyo Takarazuka Theater (1959–1972)
NHK Hall (1973–2020; 2022 onwards)
Tokyo International Forum (2021)
Running time4 hours 30 minutes
Production companyNHK
Original release
NetworkNHK General TV (1953–present)
NHK Radio 1 (1951–present)
NHK World Premium (Worldwide) (1964–present)
ReleaseJanuary 3, 1951 (1951-01-03) –

The program divides the most popular music artists of the year into competing teams of red and white. The "red" team or akagumi (赤組, 紅組) is composed of all female artists (or groups with female vocals), while the "white" team or shirogumi (白組) is all male (or groups with male vocals). At the end of the show, judges and the audience vote to decide which group performed better.[2] The honor of performing on Kōhaku is strictly by invitation, so only the most successful singing acts in the Japanese entertainment industry can perform. In addition to the actual music performances, the costumes, hair-styles, makeup, dancing, and lighting are given focus. A performance on the show is regarded as a highlight in singers' careers due to the show's wide reach.

Song selection process edit

The songs and performers are examined by a selection committee put together by NHK. The basis for selection are record sales and adaptability to the edition's theme.

At the same time, a demographic survey is conducted regarding the most popular singers for each and what kind of music people want to hear. This and the song selection explain the amalgamation of the musical genres and its artists.

There are, however, exceptions to the process. Momoe Yamaguchi chose to sing her favorite song "Hito Natsu no Keiken" (ひと夏の経験) with its suggestive lyrics during the 25th edition, despite NHK's pick of a different song.

Show edit

The competitors of the 4th Kōhaku Uta Gassen (1953)

When the show was first broadcast on radio in 1951, each team had a few performers, all of whom would perform within an hour. Since 1989, the program goes on for at least four hours as both teams, each having at least 25 performers, perform their songs.

At the end of the show, the audience and a panel of judges—notable celebrities who may or may not have a connection to the music industry—vote to select the winning team. In the past, the audience vote has been composed of a head count of the venue audience members, who could vote for either team (NHK Hall, which has been the venue for most Kōhaku editions since 1971, can seat 3,000 people). This counted as one vote.

As of the 54th (2003) and 55th editions (2004), viewers who watch the program through ISDB-S on NHK BS Hi-vision could vote by having their own head count in their respective households. Although it was still sketchy to determine in the 55th, the audience vote was counted as two votes: one for the venue audience and one for ISDB-S viewers.

The audience vote(s) are added to those of the judges who each have to vote for one team. The team with the most votes wins.

The above process was done differently for the 56th edition (2005). Instead, the NHK Hall head count, the vote count from cellphone users and the vote count from ISDB-S viewers each counted as one vote. As stated above, the team that got at least two votes won.

In the 57th edition (2006), aside from cellphone and ISDB-S viewers and the NHK Hall audience, 1seg users voted. Its format had been reverted to the ball voting system—from the audience head count and the judges' votes.

From the 58th edition (2007) to the 63rd edition (2012) and again in the 65th (2014), 66th (2015), and 68th (2017) through 70th editions (2019), the winner was determined through an overall head count, all from cellphone, ISDB-S viewers, 1seg users, and the NHK Hall Audience (including guests). Voting reverted temporarily to judges plus audience-unit votes in the 64th edition (2013) and 67th (2016) except that viewing audience votes (from internet, cellphone, digital TV, and 1seg voting) during halftime and end of show would each count as one vote and the NHK Hall head count as another single vote. The 71st edition (2020) featured off-venue voting only as there was no live audience in attendance due to concerns that arose from the COVID-19 pandemic in Japan. The 71st edition also saw performances emanating from multiple venues within NHK's studio premises with NHK Hall still the main staging area.

Aside from the performances, there are special performances where certain performers do their act together, the so-called "Ring Show" where performers from both teams take part in a "singing exercise," as well as performances from non-competing artists both in Japan and abroad. At the end of the show, all the performers sing "Hotaru no Hikari" (蛍の光) together. The song is based on the Scottish "Auld Lang Syne" that is commonly sung at New Year parties in the west. In addition, the 50th edition of the show included a "Countdown Special" to welcome the year 2000.

Results edit

No. Date Red team host White team host Mediator Winning
Overall record
1 3 January 1951 Michiko Katō Shuuichi Fujikura Masaharu Tanabe White 1-0
2 3 January 1952 Kiyoko Tange Shuuichi Fujikura Masaharu Tanabe White 2-0
3 2 January 1953 Suga Honda Teru Miyata Masayori Shimura White 3-0
4 31 December 1953 Takiko Mizunoe Keizo Takahashi Seigoro Kitade Red 3-1
5 31 December 1954 Natsue Fukuji Keizo Takahashi Shōzaburō Ishii Red 3-2
6 31 December 1955 Teru Miyata Keizo Takahashi Shōzaburō Ishii Red 3-3
7 31 December 1956 Teru Miyata Keizo Takahashi Shōzaburō Ishii White 4-3
8 31 December 1957 Takiko Mizunoe Keizo Takahashi Shōzaburō Ishii Red 4-4
9 31 December 1958 Tetsuko Kuroyanagi Keizo Takahashi Shōzaburō Ishii Red 4-5
10 31 December 1959 Meiko Nakamura Keizo Takahashi Shōzaburō Ishii Red 4-6
11 31 December 1960 Meiko Nakamura Keizo Takahashi Shōzaburō Ishii White 5-6
12 31 December 1961 Meiko Nakamura Keizo Takahashi Toshiaki Hosaka White 6-6
13 31 December 1962 Mitsuko Mori Teru Miyata Shōzaburō Ishii White 7-6
14 31 December 1963 Eri Chiemi Teru Miyata Shōzaburō Ishii Red 7-7
15 31 December 1964 Eri Chiemi Teru Miyata Shōzaburō Ishii White 8-7
16 31 December 1965 Michiko Hayashi Teru Miyata Shōzaburō Ishii White 9-7
17 31 December 1966 Peggy Hayama Teru Miyata Shōzaburō Ishii Red 9-8
18 31 December 1967 Yumiko Kokonoe Teru Miyata Shōzaburō Ishii Red 9-9
19 31 December 1968 Kiyoko Suizenji Kyu Sakamoto Teru Miyata White 10-9
20 31 December 1969 Yukari Ito Kyu Sakamoto Teru Miyata Red 10-10
21 31 December 1970 Hibari Misora Teru Miyata Shizuo Yamakawa Red 10-11
22 31 December 1971 Kiyoko Suizenji Teru Miyata Shizuo Yamakawa White 11-11
23 31 December 1972 Naomi Sagara Teru Miyata Shizuo Yamakawa Red 11-12
24 31 December 1973 Kiyoko Suizenji Teru Miyata Shizuo Yamakawa Red 11-13
25 31 December 1974 Naomi Sagara Shizuo Yamakawa Masao Domon & Yōzō Nakae Red 11-14
26 31 December 1975 Naomi Sagara Shizuo Yamakawa Hiroshi Aikawa White 12-14
27 31 December 1976 Naomi Sagara Shizuo Yamakawa Hiroshi Aikawa Red 12-15
28 31 December 1977 Naomi Sagara Shizuo Yamakawa Hiroshi Aikawa White 13-15
29 31 December 1978 Mitsuko Mori Shizuo Yamakawa Hiroshi Aikawa White 14-15
30 31 December 1979 Kiyoko Suizenji Shizuo Yamakawa Yōzō Nakae Red 14-16
31 31 December 1980 Tetsuko Kuroyanagi Shizuo Yamakawa Yōzō Nakae Red 14-17
32 31 December 1981 Tetsuko Kuroyanagi Shizuo Yamakawa Keiichi Ubukata White 15-17
33 31 December 1982 Tetsuko Kuroyanagi Shizuo Yamakawa Keiichi Ubukata Red 15-18
34 31 December 1983 Tetsuko Kuroyanagi Kenji Suzuki Tamori White 16-18
35 31 December 1984 Mitsuko Mori Kenji Suzuki Keiichi Ubukata Red 16-19
36 31 December 1985 Masako Mori Kenji Suzuki Masaho Senda Red 16-20
37 31 December 1986 Yuki Saito & Yoriko Mekata Yūzō Kayama & Masaho Senda Seiichi Yoshikawa White 17-20
38 31 December 1987 Akiko Wada Yūzō Kayama Seiichi Yoshikawa Red 17-21
39 31 December 1988 Akiko Wada Yūzō Kayama Keiko Sugiura White 18-21
40 31 December 1989 Yoshiko Mita Tetsuya Takeda Sadatomo Matsudaira Red 18-22
41 31 December 1990 Yoshiko Mita Toshiyuki Nishida Sadatomo Matsudaira White 19-22
42 31 December 1991 Yūko Asano Masaaki Sakai Shizuo Yamakawa Red 19-23
43 31 December 1992 Hikari Ishida Masaaki Sakai Shizuo Yamakawa White 20-23
44 31 December 1993 Hikari Ishida Masaaki Sakai Miyuki Morita White 21-23
45 31 December 1994 Emiko Kaminuma Ichiro Furutachi Yasuo Miyakawa Red 21-24
46 31 December 1995 Emiko Kaminuma Ichiro Furutachi Ryūji Miyamoto & Mitsuyo Kusano White 22-24
47 31 December 1996 Takako Matsu Ichiro Furutachi Ryūji Miyamoto & Mitsuyo Kusano White 23-24
48 31 December 1997 Akiko Wada Masahiro Nakai Ryūji Miyamoto White 24-24
49 31 December 1998 Junko Kubo Masahiro Nakai Ryūji Miyamoto Red 24-25
50 31 December 1999 Junko Kubo Nakamura Kankurō V Ryūji Miyamoto White 25-25
51 31 December 2000 Junko Kubo Motoya Izumi Ryūji Miyamoto Red 25-26
52 31 December 2001 Yumiko Udo Wataru Abe Tamio Miyake White 26-26
53 31 December 2002 Yumiko Udo Wataru Abe Tamio Miyake Red 26-27
54 31 December 2003 Yumiko Udo & Takako Zenba Wataru Abe & Tetsuya Takayama Tōko Takeuchi White 27-27
55 31 December 2004 Fumie Ono Wataru Abe Masaaki Horio Red 27-28
56 31 December 2005 Yukie Nakama Koji Yamamoto* Mino Monta and Motoyo Yamane White 28-28
57 31 December 2006 Yukie Nakama Masahiro Nakai Tamio Miyake & Megumi Kurosaki White 29-28
58 31 December 2007 Masahiro Nakai** Shōfukutei Tsurube II Kazuya Matsumoto & Miki Sumiyoshi White 30-28
59 31 December 2008 Yukie Nakama Masahiro Nakai Kazuya Matsumoto White 31-28
60 31 December 2009 Yukie Nakama Masahiro Nakai Wataru Abe White 32-28
61 31 December 2010 Nao Matsushita Arashi*** Wataru Abe White 33-28
62 31 December 2011 Mao Inoue Arashi Wataru Abe Red 33-29
63 31 December 2012 Maki Horikita Arashi Yumiko Udo White 34-29
64 31 December 2013 Haruka Ayase Arashi Yumiko Udo White 35-29
65 31 December 2014 Yuriko Yoshitaka Arashi Yumiko Udo White 36-29
66 31 December 2015 Haruka Ayase Yoshihiko Inohara Tetsuko Kuroyanagi Red 36-30
67 31 December 2016 Kasumi Arimura Masaki Aiba Shinichi Takeda Red 36-31
68 31 December 2017 Kasumi Arimura Kazunari Ninomiya Teruyoshi Uchimura & Maho Kuwako White 37-31
69 31 December 2018 Suzu Hirose Sho Sakurai Teruyoshi Uchimura & Maho Kuwako White 38-31
70 31 December 2019 Haruka Ayase Sho Sakurai Teruyoshi Uchimura & Mayuko Wakuda White 39-31
71 31 December 2020 Fumi Nikaido Yo Oizumi Teruyoshi Uchimura & Maho Kuwako Red 39-32
72 31 December 2021 Haruna Kawaguchi, Yo Oizumi, and Mayuko Wakuda**** Red 39-33
73 31 December 2022 Kanna Hashimoto, Yo Oizumi, Sho Sakurai and Maho Kuwako[3] White 40-33
74 31 December 2023 Kanna Hashimoto, Hiroiki Ariyoshi, Minami Hamabe and Kozo Takase Red 40-34
75 31 December 2024 TBA
The white team has won 40 of the 74 contests.

* In the 56th edition, the roles of mediator and team host were blurred as all four hosts intermingled with both teams.
** Masahiro Nakai is the first male team host of the Red team since Teru Miyata in the 6th and 7th editions. Red team hosts (even in pairs) are usually female.
*** All five members of Arashi act as one host-unit, although at least one member would appear on stage to take the role.
**** The hosts take a neutral position.

Popularity edit

Kōhaku was once the most-watched show on Japanese television of the year. One major factor was that New Year's Eve in Japan is a holiday traditionally spent at home (see Ōmisoka). Over the years, the annual event's popularity has declined from an all-time high of an 81.4 rating in 1963 to a low of 30.6 in the Kantō region for the first part of the 2006 event.[4] The 2021 Kōhaku program set a record low for the second portion of the show with a 34.3 viewership rating in the Kantō region.[5] Despite the drop, Kōhaku is consistently the top-rated musical event each year.[6]

Outside Japan, Taiwan also hosts a similar Kōhaku competition, Super Star (超級巨星紅白藝能大賞), which broadcasts on the eve of Chinese New Year. Similar to Kōhaku, the special is held at a live venue, Taipei Arena. Unlike Kōhaku, Super Star does not have gender-affiliated teams and the special is pre-recorded weeks before airing instead of being a live broadcast. The first special premiered on February 13, 2010, the eve of the 2010's Chinese New Year.[7] The most recent special was set to be broadcast on February 9, 2024.

Notable participants edit

Japanese entertainers edit

The following is a list of acts with notable contributions to the Japanese entertainment industry, and have a minimum of five appearances on Kōhaku to their credit (appearance numbers in parentheses are as of the 73rd edition):

Pop, Rock, and Other Contemporary edit

1. Matsuura has also appeared with DEF.DIVA and GAM. However, NHK does not count those appearances towards her count.

Enka edit

1. Saori Yuki and Sachiko Yasuda are counted as a duet. Solo appearances by either of the two would not count towards the duet count.

Foreigners edit

Although Kōhaku is made up of mostly Japanese entertainers, foreign artists (artists who are not Japanese nationals) popular in Japan have competed in the program. Special appearances, supporting musicians or other methods of participation where the artist or group's performance was not accounted for in the overall scoring should not be added to this list. Below is a list of artists or groups who have done so, categorized based on the country of origin (Asian or non-Asian) the person or majority of the members in a group are from, along with the editions:

References edit

  1. ^ Smith, Alyssa I. (November 16, 2017). "Twice and Daichi Miura among 10 debuts at this year's 'Kohaku'". The Japan Times. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  2. ^ "NHK sees ratings for 'Kohaku' music show sink to lowest ever". The Japan Times. January 2, 2016. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  3. ^ "『第73回NHK紅白歌合戦』司会に大泉洋&橋本環奈&櫻井翔&桑子真帆アナ 今年のテーマも発表【司会コメントあり】". Oricon (in Japanese). Archived from the original on October 10, 2022. Retrieved October 10, 2022.
  4. ^ "NHK総合「紅白歌合戦」世帯視聴率" (in Japanese). Video Research Ltd. Retrieved 2 January 2022.
  5. ^ "Ratings for NHK's year-end "Kohaku" music show hit record low". Kyodo News. 2 January 2022. Retrieved 2 January 2022.
  6. ^ "視聴率データ|ビデオリサーチ". Archived from the original on 2006-11-30. Retrieved 2006-12-02.
  7. ^ 葉文正、張瑞振 (2009-10-28). "張小燕 哈林 彈開9年再合體" (in Chinese (Taiwan)). 蘋果日報 (台灣). Archived from the original on 2010-02-03. Retrieved 2010-02-17.
  8. ^ "【紅白】出場歌手決定 初出場はNiziU、ストスノ、瑛人 GReeeeNは特別企画". (in Japanese). Archived from the original on November 16, 2020. Retrieved November 16, 2020.
  9. ^ アグネスラム今現在は?旦那(夫)、 結婚、子供は?初代クラリオンガール・ 来日秘話は?テレビ出演、映画は?歌手デビューは? [What is Agnes Lum doing now? Does she have a husband, marriage, kids? What's the secret story of the first Clarion Girl coming to Japan? Appearances in film and on television? Singing debut?] (in Japanese). 昭和の芸能人情報館. Archived from the original on September 1, 2023. Retrieved September 1, 2023.

External links edit