Yes, it was a very different NHK Kouhaku Uta-Gassen (the 71st) with the ongoing pandemic performances were done without an audience. But for those that are fans of Okinawan pop culture, we can celebrate that popular actress Nikaido Fumi (Naha, Okinawa) was one of the announcers for the annual song battle. She currently starts in NHK’s asadora Yell.
Ah, I remember years past when we could expect to see several artists from or with ties to Okinawa on NHK’s annual music show, “Kouhaku Uta-Gassen” (Red & White Song Battle). For last year’s (60th) show, a lone artist Yusuke Kamiji (performs under his first name, Yusuke) with ties to Okinawa performed and we were fortunate to have actress Yukie Nakama host the show for her third time (2006, 2008 and 2009). Flashback to the 50th show (1999) and the artists who performed included: MAX, Kiroro, SPEED, Namie Amuro, and DA PUMP. And one of my favorites was the 56th (2005) with its Okinawa-theme. Enka singer Yoko Nagayama sang “Bashoufu,” folk singer Ryoko Moriyama sang “Satoukibi Batake,” comedian Gorie (performing with the Red Team) sang “Pecori♥Night,” Rimi Natsukawa returned to sing “Nada Sou Sou” again (she performed the song the previous year), and R&B duo D-51 sang “NO MORE CRY.”
So for this year’s 61st show, who can we look forward to watching? Performing 4th (White Team) is NYC who has a member with ties to Okinawa in Yuri Chinen. Performing 10th (White Team) is the previously mentioned Yusuke. And the band I’m most looking forward to watching this year is HY who are making their first appearance on the show with the powerful song “Toki o Koe.” They’ll be performing 17th (White Team) and I heard they’ll also have eisa drummers backing them up (their website has a link to a live performance of the song). Should be a very good show.
This may end up being our last post for 2010 so we’ll take this opportunity to wish all of you a very Happy New Year!!! Take care everyone and see you in 2011!
On Monday, NHK officially announced that Masahiro Nakai and Yukie Nakama will be this year’s hosts. The full list of performers are expected to be revealed soon.
This will be Yukie’s 3rd appearance (2005, 2006, 2008) as host of the music program and pairs her again with her “Watashi wa Kai ni Naritai” movie costar Masahiro Nakai of the J-pop group SMAP.