NHK’s Kouhaku is one of the most prestigious music shows in a year. Artistes who are invited are chosen according to several factors – the results of this year’s activities, public opinion and performance concept. Take a look at the highlights from last night, have they lived up to expectations?
X Japan – Forever Love/Born to be Free
X Japan disbanded in 1997 after appearing on Kouhaku, but regrouped in 2007. 2015 marks their return to Kouhaku after an absence of 18 years. Remembering their bandmates Hide and Taiji who passed away in 1998 and 2011 respectively, 2 guitars which belonged to them were placed onstage, as if to show that the band was performing as 7 instead of 5.
Leader Yoshiki says “We didn’t think that we’d get a chance at this stage. We’d like to thank the fans who supported us all these time, because of you, we got a 2nd life.
Arashi – Star Wars Collaboration / Sakura/ Ai wo Sakebe
Tying in with the popular movie, the members of Arashi transformed into Star Wars warriors complete with lightsabers and sang their hit songs for the year together with the Droids of the Galactic universe.
NMB48 – 365nichi no Kamihikouki
I have no idea whether they’re trying to promote “Asa ga Kita”, Yamamoto Sayaka, the song or NMB48, but seeing how the cast of “Asa ga Kita” joined in the performance in the end, i guess the point was to promote the drama! Yamamoto Sayaka still got a huge deal out of this though, the guitar (which is actually unnecessarily in the context of her performance) and her solo opening made her stand out so much that the rest of NMB48 simply faded into the background. Most importantly, she got to stand beside Tamaki Hiroshi who is one of my absolute favourites!
AKB48 10th Year Anniversary – Aitakkata/Flying Get/Heavy Rotation
The concept of this performance was “Magic”. The moment when i read reports about it, alarm bells sounded because god knows how many lame magic tricks AKB48 has attempted in the past year. The real magic came when Maeda Atsuko and Oshima Yuko appeared out of nowhere to join the group. Takamina is shocked, but it is afterall the group’s 10th anniversary so i’m sure we’ll be seeing more Acchan-Yuko in 2016.
Ayase Haruka, Perfume, V6 x Disney Medley
Disney is quite a regular fixture on Kouhaku and Perfume often collaborates with Disney, but we’d never discover how cute Ayase Haruka is if not for this performance.She sings so well and dances like she’s part of Perfume!
Golden Bomber – Memeshikute
Golden Bomber cannot escape the vicious cycle of promoting”Memeshikute” and even Ayase Haruka is innocently asking “How much longer can they continue with this song?” but Golden Bomber always makes it fresh for the audience. In this performance, Darvish Kenji is dressed in a kimono but Kyan and Utahiroba Jun strips him to reveal that he’s actually dressed for a sumo match. The screen shows a computer system randomly picking his opponent from the Kouhaku judges, and it settles on Naoki Matayoshi, an award winning novelist and comedian. Naoki Matayoshi is carried into the ring and he loses to Darvish, but instead of getting a prize, sumo wrestlers pickup Darvish and knocks him against a temple bell,which is sounded traditionally to mark the start of a new year. Darvish ends up in a daze and Naoki describes his state using a scroll with the words “Hibana”(“fire sparks”). “Hibana” is actually the title of his award winning novel.
If you’re interested in the full show, you can view it here.