Friday, Dec. 12, 2008
For whatever reason, it's possible you'll be stuck at home on New Year's Eve. If so, that means you can watch NHK's perennial music extravaganza, "Kohaku Uta Gassen," which has traditionally been the single most significant event of the year for Japanese singers, and the one that still offers a capsule view of what's hot in mainstream Japanese pop.
This year the program holds some surprises. Top pop-rock ensemble Mr. Children, who have turned down NHK's invitation to appear on the show 15 times, have finally agreed to play this year. The African-American enka (ballads) singer Jero will also be there, fulfilling his and his Japanese grandmother's dreams and capping an incredibly successful debut year. In addition, the super-popular Korean boyband DBSK (known in Japan as Tohoshinki) are scheduled to perform, and will undoubtedly blow SMAP off the stage.
"Kohaku Uta Gassen" is screened on Dec. 31 on NHK-G, BShi and BS2 (7:20 p.m.).