The Rest of Kouhaku…

Filed in Cult Of Pop 2.0

So I watched the entirety of Kouhaku on local station KIKU – it’s even more fun this year, if only because I’m slightly more familiar with the Japanese music scene than last time. The funny part is, what I know about Jpop, the wife doesn’t know; but she knows the older,more established acts and has a genuine fondness for all this pageantry.

Here’s the highlights as I saw them… 

w-inds makes Viyuden look butch. No, wait… w-inds makes Berryz Koubo look butch. Maasa can kick all their asses and win Ayaya for herself, if she wanted.

The backup dancers for the Kamen Rider theme song were nifty, but it looked like a bunch of masked leather boys waiting for new tricks to pass their stroll. And where was Kishidan to join in on this fun?

Not surprisingly, the H!P medley was on pretty early…

Wife: "Which one is Momoko?" Me: "The one in blue behind the short girl in pink."

Wife: "I like her." (Meaning Yuko of Momusu.) Me: "You mean the drunk?"

Wada Akiko in a Kishidan wig! Very cool.

Kishidan right after Momusu! Now all I really have to look forward to is SMAP.

Fat white guy collapsing and needing a gurney is not as good as the woman in the bathtub from last year. But the Kishidan Kids are definitely funny! And I knew when the singer picked up the kid what would happen…

BoA is really really good… I may pick up the song she did, I liked it. So did the wife. And now I’m even more interested in that sex-alike vid, actually.

Two bigs guys ripping the clothes off a skinny guy is funny in ANY language.

Wife actually cares about whether white or red will win. She thinks white will win, about an hour in.

Weren’t those two magician boys on Hello! Morning? Have there been any magicians who weren’t on Hello! Morning this year?

Wife was looking forward to seeing what the drag queen would wear tonight. Not Gorie, the other one who’s apparently a national institution.

H!P girls standing in the background during one of the host introductions.

Kuraki Mai didn’t do anything for me. I can see how she’d be appealing, just not to me.

Kimtaku speaks during one of the host moments – why is he wearing such a fugly purple suit jacket?

Actually, all of SMAP look like ragamuffins tonight, with their T-shirts and torn jeans.

Hey! Six of the current Musumes as back-up dancers with umbrellas for some enka singer! Wife thinks I’m imagining it, but I point them each out: Sayumi, Koharu, Takitty, Reina, Eri, Risa.

R2-D2 and C3P0? Was R2 speaking in Japanese?

Hey, the local girl, Yuna Ito! Her English is very good.

3P0 and R2 are Yuna fans? Or perhaps Nana fans… 

Watching TOKIO makes me wish L’Arc en Ciel or Orange Range would be on tonight. 

Shingo looks so gay with his blonde hair and pink jacket. Fitting his whole fist in his mouth doesn’t help any, either.

Otsuka Ai sings "Planetarium"! It’s amazing how she can switch from wacky rocker to heartfelt balladeer so effectively… And she’s particularly gorgeous tonight.

SMAP leads all the night’s talento (or so it seems) in a song. Man, Nakai sounds like crap.

Koda Kumi! She looks relatively fully-dressed tonight. And she manages to be racy without being offensive. Which is a shame, really.

Ayu is on! Nice flower dress, nice song… I wonder why I’ve never developed a taste for her.

The Gorie cheerleader thing is just… well, much muchness. I like how the blonde winds up co-starring. 

I wouldn’t have paid attention to WaT if I hadn’t already read about the microphone incident. That said, they handled it very well. 

Aya starts off the first Showa Medley in a beautiful old-fashioned blue dress. Wowza!

That said, we’re at the three hour mark and my stamina’s being tested. Five hours straight of H!P goodness, I can handle. But this is different.

I recognize the melody to "Koi no Vacance" from the W version. 

Wife had to explain the Tokyo Tower joke to me.

I’d already seen the second part of the medley with the various Musumes. That said, the best part is definitely Kishidan and Wada Akiko doing "YMCA", then SMAP being their own Smappy selves.

Momusu’s Makoto seems to be having a ball tonight, isn’t she?

Another enka singer in an elaborate gown – except this one’s not a transvestite…

Holy shit! That was one elaborate costume change she had! 

I have no idea why T.M. Revolution has a Star Wars lead-in… that said, I guess his silly/crazy performance makes up for Gackt not being around.

I think he’s wearing the same fox that Yukari wore in the "Tip Taps Tip" video.

Visions of the Star Wars Christmas Special are flashing before my eyes for some reason…

Holy Shit (again)! There’s a rock group now that outweirds Kishidan. The guy with the huge, floppy golden horns on his head is a nice touch.

I think that’s Rob Halford’s leather jacket the lead singer is wearing.

I like how he harasses the Bulgarian sumo guy. 

I really don’t get aiko. But that’s just me.

A sorta-interesting dinosaur rock group, freshly re-united according to the wife.

Hey, has Loudness or Zeni Geva ever been on Kouhaku? That would’ve been cool. Highly unlikely, but cool.

Hey, that guy in Def Tech speaks English real well!

Watanabe Misako has incredible stage presence… and she looks a little like Meryl Streep.

Nakai almost always looks like somebody slapped him in the face. Hard. 

m-flo loves Wada Akiko… and now, so do I. That disco ball entrance and her attitude when she was just sitting there… wow.

Wow. Wada Aikiko is like watching late Elvis, but even cooler.

Cheerleaders again? Meh.

Wada Akiko looks better in that black and white suit, though the gold gown is nice.

In a night of pure showmanship, the m-flo loves Wada Akiko was the best so far, and there’s only a half hour left. Wife and I just started clapping afterwards, that was pretty fucking impressive.

Crap, Nakashima Mika looks strung out on drugs again. That must explain why she’s wearing a hobo’s outfit this time…

SMAP are on, and they finally decided to wear… original 10-nin Musume’s furs from "Love Machine"?

Rika was positively adorable, saying hi to the camera!

White Team wins by a huge margin.

Auld Lang Syne? 

The Musumes look great… but so do Kishidan in their uniforms. 

And… that’s about it. Five hours was a bit much, but I think that’s the point. Can’t wait till next year – Berryz and Gokamattou, baby! 

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3 Responses to “The Rest of Kouhaku…”
  1. HANABI.1984 says:

    Hilarious! So many great observations that are on point. I can’t stop laughing about what you said about wind-s.. LOL Too much.

  2. jordi says:

    “Shingo looks so gay with his blonde hair and pink jacket. Fitting his whole fist in his mouth doesn’t help any, either.”

    I always thought along those lines but he seems to be a big selling man. :

    It’s no longer Red & White team really – just Bunch of semifamous-famous peoples vs Johnny (and some others)

  3. I have got some screengrabs from the Kouhaku using my phone’s camera. Here is the full text (plus pics) of my post with I placed on some BBSs:

    Here are the screen grabs from the latest edition of the NHK Kouhaku, taken using a Nokia 3230 (except for one picture) placed in front of my TV. Aside from those are links to other screen grabs.
    Last New Year’s Eve, the 56th NHK Kouhaku began like this:

    For the uninitiated, the hosts are Motoyo Yamane (the older woman), Yukie Nakama, Koji Yamamoto, and…

    Mr. Minomonta — Japan’s "final answer" to Regis Philbin. (He’s the guy who hosted Who Wants to Be a Millionaire in Japan.)

    (I will not pick screengrabs of enka singers unless they did something interesting.)

    Ami Suzuki
    w-inds.

    Akira Fusé — performing with some Masked Rider-like people.

    Kobukuro
    Aya Matsu’ura + DEF DIVA and Morning Musume.
    Oh, BTW…

    They are accompanied with some cute characters.

    This woman claims she loves the White Team.

    Kishidan, this time in a K-1 get-up.
    BoA

    Funny circus trio.

    The Gospellers
    Yoko Nagayama, accompanied by Rimi Natsukawa, both in shamisen.
    Naotaro Moriyama, who sounds like the absent Ken Hirai.

    The Magic Brothers. I forgot their names though!

    Kenichi Mikawa. No robot this year, but still flamboyant.

    The guy in Ferrari red is a taiso guy from a kiddie show.

    Mai Kuraki
    Hitomi Shimatani
    Ayaka Hirahara
    Sukima Switch

    What are R2D2 and C3PO doing in the Kouhaku?

    Yuna Ito
    TOKIO

    When was the last time you put your hand in your mouth? For this guy… I don’t know.

    Chemistry
    Ai Otsuka

    Actually, this woman inside the museum is not singing, but rather reciting poems.

    Masashi Sada
    A mass artiste ensemble (no Ring Show this year!)
    Kumi Koda
    D-51

    This is sumo wrestler Koto’oshu, an ozeki from Bulgaria.

    Two pictures of Ayumi Hamasaki: Screengrab A Screengrab B
    Kiyoshi Hikawa (the Enka Heartthrob)

    Gorie both from afar and up close. You’re looking at a drag queen, folks.

    WaT (stands for Wentz and Teppei)

    Sachiko Kobayashi always does something flamboyant in the Kouhaku. Last year was an exception. But not this year because she’s on a robot again! Here’s the before and after photos.

    The rest of her get-up in three stages.

    Darth Vader and his Storm Troopers paving the way for TM Revolution
    Yoh Hitoto
    Group Tamashii (and I suppose the lead singer hitting on Koto’oshu is part of the act)

    Another funny duo.
    aiko
    Masayoshi Yamazaki
    PornoGrafitti
    AI

    Alice
    Rimi Natsukawa
    DEF TECH (an American and an Japanese)
    Yumi Matsutoh’ya (a.k.a. Yuming) with Friends of Love the Earth (Lim Hyong Joo, Korean; amin, Mandarin Chinese; and Dick Lee, English)
    DREAMS COME TRUE
    Misato Watanabe

    m-flo with Akiko Wada. Will Andy Williams perform with Snoop Dogg like these two did? It’s just me.
    Mika Nakashima

    Yoshimi Tendo, the last performer for the Reds

    SMAP, the last performers for the Whites.
    Results:

    Head count but no more judges.
    NHK Hall Audience Head Count (including guests): 1,117 to 1,587.
    Cellphone users: 2,904 to 4,610.
    Digital TV Audience: 19,393 to 22,687.
    That’s… 0 – 3 White Team wins the 56th NHK Kouhaku.