NHK scouts the web for clips, but we can’t help but talk about the Kouhaku~

Happy 2012!

Another year has gone by, another night full of Pop, Enka, some Rock and some odd ones out — I’m looking at you, Hiroshi Hikawa and your Mariachi Passion (情熱のマリアッチ)[1, not actual clip of his Kouhaku performance].

On a really long night — or long early morning, depending on where you were — NHK held their traditional Kouhaku Uta Gassen (紅白歌合戦) event, already in its 62nd edition. What was awesome about the 2011 line-up besides Shiina Ringo [1], Ayaka [1] and the always ADORABLE Ashida Mana — who, by the way, had a little accident when she excitedly entered the stage alongside Mickey Mouse, of course!

Did you have enough cuteness there?

Okay, what was also cool about the latest line-up was that it not only had one or two Kpop acts, but THREE! KARA shook their booties, SNSD showed their long limbs and DBSK were there to pump some energy.

Obviously, NHK — as it is — is hunting down any of its property in the usual suspect sites: YouTube, Vimeo and DailyMotion. So, embedding any of the performances is going to be a problem, as it always is with Japanese media. To make it even more impossible to share Japanese music, most of the Enka or more traditional numbers at the show are not even making their rounds on the webverse in fan accounts because apparently there aren’t any web-savvy Enka-lovers out there to share those performances.

Some surprising music combinations were Enka singer Miyuki Kawanaka (川中美幸) backed by multitudinous girl group AKB48 [Youku], as well as a super power performance by Enka singer Ayako Fuji (藤あや子)  alongside boyband — or manband — TOKIO, who recreated an o-Matsuri lifting of the spirits feeling in their performance of Ayako no o-Kuni Jiman Dayo ~ Ganbarona Tohoku!! Kouhaku Special ~ (あや子のお国自慢だよ~がんばろな東北!!紅白スペシャル~) — something like: Ayako’s country is a proud one ~ Do your best Tohoku!. [1, complete non-Kouhaku version]


NHK is ruthless with its copyright, it hasn’t let me keep any of the videos

However, my most favorite and most memorable of the night — and probably most surprising pick — was when Ashida Mana and Suzuki Fuku were performing their hit Maru Maru Mori Mori! (マル・マル・モリ・モリ!) and then introduced Mickey Mouse to join the stage with Arashi and perform the Japanese version of Disney’s classic It’s a Small World —  Chiisana Sekai (小さな世界) in Japanese.

It’s been obviously really hard for me to look for an easy access link to this performance, but you’re in LUCK! I did find one over at Korean-based — A YinYueTai version is also available.

There was just too much awesome not to pick it the best of the night.

In the end the Red Team (girls) won, breaking the White Team (boys) reign for the last few couple of years. I was surprised at the difference in voting between the “judges” — which I’m pretty sure included the on-site audience too — the Digital TV voters and the Mobile voters. Without the latter two, the White Team would have swept the votes, — I’m guessing many of them would have been fans of all the JE groups that were in the White Team (Arashi as host, TOKIO, NYC and SMAP just to name those few).

Overall, I think this has been the most entertaining Kouhaku performance in years. Thoughts?


YAM Magazine editor, photographer, blogger, translator and part-time web designer. Film junkie, music junkie… and lately series (a.k.a. TV) junkie.

7 Responses

  1. ghost says:

    You have a typo “SNSD showed their long limbers” unless you’re talking about how limber they are, in which case why wasn’t I invited?

    I found the Maru Maru Mori Mori clip on Vimeo and then it was gone. NHK is implacable. Mana-chan, why u so precious? Even when you fall on stage, my bitter melon heart goes dokidoki.

    With Shiina Ringo and Ayaka (plus SNSD and AKB48 – how many votes would that be?), it would have been enough for the Red Team to win. All the audience on-site that voted White must have been Arashi fans or something. Did you noticed all the audience shots that Arashi, Exile and SMAP got compared to the rest (including DBSK)?

    • amy says:

      @ghost, fixed it!

      To be honest, I thought the White Team would win because it had all the popular boybands, but I clearly underestimated AKB48’s pull for fanboys, and SNSD’s pull for girls because the Mobile votes and DigitalTV votes were overwhelmingly in favor of the Red Team.

      There were a couple of performances from *coughTheWhiteTeam* that were of the sentimental kind *coughTohokucough* that felt really forced to all of us here watching – that could have possibly swayed judges’ votes in favor of the White Team for sure. But then again, my dad is in love with Shiina Ringo. Her version of Carnation was impeccable.

  2. aww, I miss when I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area and was able to watch Kokuhaku on KTSF.

    • amy says:

      @Diandra Rodriguez, I miss the KTSF broadcast because someone used to upload the subbed Taiga dramas from there in comfortable file sizes, now they seem to think that people will download HD episodes of 1Gb per ep just for the subtitles… T_T

  3. Julyssa says:

    From what I could see on my twitter, seems like many found this years Kohaku to be really good. Which is nice seeing as the 3 (!) Korean music end-of-the year shows pretty much sucked.

    That Arashi/Disney collab was too cute! Aw gosh!

    • amy says:

      @Julyssa, In reality it was an Ashida Mana/Disney/Arashi collab because she sang (alongside Suzuki Fuku, but I’m sure Mana-chan’s voice was amped) the Disney intro and then bam, Mickey appeared LOL

      I think the show was more entertaining because there were more collaborations, the pop was alright (even AKB48)… even though the JE numbers were weird – vocally or dance-wise. All the Enka numbers were really quite good (I thought Enka beat Pop this year), many of them did big stage numbers and big vocals.

      One thing that irks me, though, is that KARA SNSD and DBSK had to sing in Japanese xD but you know I always get pissy about that. I think it’s unfair they have to sing in Japanese, when I bet Cyndi Lauper probably sang in just English.

  1. January 2, 2012

    […] can read my “review” of this years show over in: NHK scouts the web for clips, but we can’t help by talk about the Kouhaku~ blog post. Filed under Celebrity, Clips, English, Fun, Japanese, Korean, Music, Reviews, […]

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