~Favorite Moments from this Past Year’s 66th Kouhaku Uta Gassen….

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Japan’s annual ending songfest event has long been a family gathering type event as here in Hawaii it’s broadcast locally albeit a day late on the 1st of each year. Each year never ceases to entertain as the guys and girls battle it out for the fan and celebrity vote as they’re represented as the White and Red teams respectfully and this past now 66th annual Kouhaku Uta Gassen definitely didn’t disappoint! And while this song battle production runs traditionally about 4 1/2 hours in length, here I’ve highlighted just a few of my most favorite memories from the evening’s musical festivities.

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~Ohara Sakurako “Hitomi”~

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What an amazing honor for Ohara Sakurako as she opened up the evening as the very first female performer, not to mention that this was her first appearance on the Kouhaku! And a wonderful choice of song here as it’s her loveliest of ballads “Hitomi” getting an all acoustic rendition…. I bet the butterflies were churning inside but Sakurako~chan really shined!!

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~Nogizaka46 “Kimi no na wa kibou”~

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Looking gorgeous in shades of lavender, Nogizaka46 whom were also making their very first appearance on the Kouhaku, performed their beautiful ensemble ballad “Kimi no na wa kibou” ….a harmonized reminder of how this sweet melody definitely belongs in your musical collection.

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~SEKAI NO OWARI “Present”~

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Hmm?! Just one question, what’s with the clown dude?? Sure numerous groups have had their costumed mascots/musicians in the past however this one is just a bit creepy wouldn’t you say!! =O Ever see what Steven King did with a clown?! The name of this group to begin with is a “bit” interesting …. “end of the world” it reads but overall the song was pleasant enough and I liked the choir but still what’s with the clown dude?? =O

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WT#? was that?

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~AKB48 “Moonlight Densetsu”~

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I’d totally liken this grouping of AKGirls to be an all new unit!!! Sakura, Paruru and Mayuyu to begin with albeit this is just a tiny excerpt of the song which appearing during the Kouhaku’s salute to anime… oh! and the Sailor Moon theme has always been a most catchy and cute one made even better by Family48 ^^.

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~NMB48 “365 Hi no kami hikouki”~

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NMB48’s folk rendition of their lovely ballad “365 Hi no kami hikouki” is mesmerizing with such a strong memorable melody all around and it’s sweet that members of the cast are also present on stage to help celebrate its tie-in as the theme song for NHK’s morning drama “Asa ga kita.”

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~Fukuyama Masaharu “25th anniversary medley”~

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Can you believe that FukuyaMANIA’s been a staple of the Japanese music scene and culture itself for so long!! And to celebrate now 25 years in the biz, the multi talented songwriter, musician, singer and actor has a very special medley here which includes the likes of his early career mega-hit “Hello” and of course one of his most beloved of heartfelt ballads in “Sakurazaka” ….all performed off-site on what is a most cool stage!! He may now be married, a bit older but he’s still HOT!!!!!!!!!!! …and his voice ever iconic! ^^*

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~ARASHI “Special New Year’s Eve Medley”~

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And what New Year’s celebration~*~~*would be complete without a bit of Star Wars!! Firstly note how cool it is that C3PO is now speaking in Japanese =P ….add in a bit of Jedi wardrobe magic complete with light sabers and LOTS of ARASHI and you’ve got one of the most memorable performances of the evening hands down!~! Perfect song choices as well as ARASHI opens with “Sakura” then shifting to a most tantalizing performance of their CATCHY BEYOND WORDS “Ai wo sakebe” ….!!!!!!! ^^*

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~AKB48 Medley~

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Now the supreme surprise~*~~* of the evening arrived with AKB48’s taking the stage and while they’re also hot off of celebrating their very own group milestone it was only fitting that they’d open up with “Aitakatta”….. however the WOW moment with an instant whirlwind of emotions arrives as special secret guests ex-AKGirls Acchan and Yuko make the most memorable of appearances here!!!!!!!! And it’s a perfect storm here as it’s Takamina’s final Kouhaku and public t.v. appearance as her graduation draws ever nearer this year and her reaction is about as genuine as it gets as well…. you know the floodgates of tears begin falling in no time the moment she realizes who’s joined the group on stage! Sweet, bitter sweet really and the girls follow up “Aitakatta” with a medley of their singles “Flying Get”, most fittingly “Heavy Rotation” (as Yuko appears) ending with their disco inferno groove “Koi suru fortune cookie.” ^^*!

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~Nishino Kana “Torisetsu”

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I really love Nishino Kana’s voice as it’s purely adorable with a kick of strong range, here “Torisetsu” has this sort of fairy tale whimsical quality to it and fittingly here she’s surrounded by a wintery snow globe wonderland ….one of the cutest performances of the night!

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~V6 Medley~

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I never imagined seeing V6 at this stage performing such an old and beloved single in “Ai nanda” !! Sure it’s mini medley here but it’s sooooo about “Ai nanda!” Can’t tell you how much I love LOVE this song!!!!!!!!!! Really reminds of those youthful Johnny’s days when SMAP had six members and were also belting out such joyous can catchy songs such as this ^^*!~! I even ran out and ordered this very single which was still in the 3” format…. both nostalgic and eternally awesome~♥!

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~X Japan “Special Medley ~We are X!~”~

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Just watching Sayanee’s eyes speaks volumes as Yoshiki announced their final Kouhaku appearance all in tribute to HIDE, and later as his guitars sit idle next to his piano a beautiful and moving performance ensues as a duet between Toshi’s vocals and Yoshiki’s gentle piano takes on center stage. This medley includes their iconic “Forever Love” as well as a really rockin’ rendition of “Born to be Free!!”

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~Imai Miki “PIECE OF MY WISH”~

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It wasn’t too long ago that I posted “The Greatest Songs of all Time” by Imai Miki, a must have album for sure! …and here Imai Miki performs her most elegant ballad “PIECE OF MY WISH” …..always with conviction, grace and strength, her vocals are simply second to none.

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~SMAP “This is SMAP Medley”~

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And here I close with my beloved SMAP, here their medley opens with one of their most beautiful songs in “Triangle”, sure its single cover artwork may have left much to be desired back in the day =P …but this song is definitely one of their finest as it finishes with a heavy performance of the polar opposite side of “otherside” ^^*.

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~fin~

About MorningBerryz

Lover and free spirit who's interests in Japanese culture and the like are insatiable. I am of pure Japanese/Okinawan descent, love my cats, sleep and am a bit naughty at times :).
Gallery | This entry was posted in AKB48, Japanese idols, Johnny's, J~Pop, J~rock and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to ~Favorite Moments from this Past Year’s 66th Kouhaku Uta Gassen….

  1. Wonderful post! I watched Kouhaku live this year, somehow, on three different shaky online sites.
    For me, the highlights were of course AKB’s amazing performance with Acchan and Yuko joining Takamina in this final kind of appearance together (Though something tells me it won’t “really” be their final time onstage with each other), and I think Sayanee killed it as well. However, the best moment of the night that dropped my mouth on the floor was Perfume’s INCREDIBLE visual performance! I mean, it was like their South by Southwest appearance x 400000 million gabillion! I literally had gooesbumps the entire time! I guess them being my all time favorite musicians helped add to the excitement, but even if I didn’t like them, how could you NOT be blown away by what they did? It was on a whole other level, excuse the pun!
    Great, great post! Thank you for bringing me back to New Years!

    Liked by 2 people

    • For years from when I was little and would go to watch the Kouhaku at my Grandmother’s house I’d always thought that it was being shown live here =P…..wasn’t until years later when I finally realized it was held on New Year’s eve JST. The show used to feature a lot of traditional enka and I do miss that a lot as it gets a bit less and less each year it seems although many of the big hitters in enka are still performing. The Acchan x Yuko surprise was such a sweet moment and I blame Takamina for making me tear up too =P! Then there was the HIDE tribute performance, I had a friend here who was so into X Japan and Luna Sea and it was devastating when he passed all those years ago =(. So much of what happened just seemed so surreal back then and the details were a bit fuzzy I always thought. From loving dramas so much it’s always nice to see Fukuyama Masaharu perform and I’m soooooooo happy that he yet again reminded of just how lovely a song “Sakurazaka” truly is! And really the entire show opened up on such a high just seeing Ohara Sakurako’s first appearance as I never read the lineup ahead of time so that everyone’s appearance for the most part can be a surprise if I don’t see them in the opening crowd. In addition to the anime tribute i love how there’s always a theme and having Star Wars there was awesome not to mention ARASHI’s very cool Star Wars opening tribute!! Imai Miki was a wonderful surprise too and she performed my most favorite song of hers by far!!…and having just posted about her best of album not too long ago made it even that more special =). Productions are always so big and amazing on the Kouhaku and you’re definitely right that Perfume really impressed!! All in all not a bad way to spend about 5 hours of a most enjoyable evening ^^!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I totally agree. The X Japan tribute was another huge highlight to watch. I loved your story about how you used to watch it when you were younger. Very nostalgic, ne?
        As for the enka, I think maybe it will be a little more prominent, at least by one extra person next year. I can TOTALLY see Wasamin being asked to perform her enka songs, as she should be asked considering how incredible she has become with her enka singing. Sad to see her leave AKB though, but definitely excited to know I may actually get to hear her sing enka in front of the entire nation of Japan on Kouhaku next year. I’m calling it now!

        Liked by 2 people

        • I don’t think I’ve ever asked but are you into J-rock? I have a few favorites including off the top of my head…. SCANDAL, L’arc~en~ciel, Luna Sea. Glay, Princess Princess, Mr Children. Ozaki Yutaka… there are lots of favorites but these come to mind immediately.

          It would be awesome if Wasamin were to appear on the Kouhaku!!!!!! It’s long puzzled me as to why she isn’t much more popular as she really has everything…. great vocal takent, charisma and she’s truly gorgeous.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Denny Sinnoh says:

            Derek and MB: Have you heard the Iswasa Misaki version of “Hitomi ?. There are a couple of YouTube videos out there with her singing it live for a small audience.

            PS: I want to be Wasamin’s “Colonel Parker”. Then she would be famous.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Is she really singing Ohara Sakurako’s~♥ “Hitomi?” If so that’s so awesome!!!!! My most favorite female single of last year!~! I tried searching Youtube but couldn’t find it.

              I wasn’t able to persuade Derek to give “Hitomi” a listen though as he wasn’t too interested =(. I did try though as it’s just such a lovely song that I wanted to share and VERY catchy I might add if one were to give it a chance ….and you’re a perfect example of that, giving the unknown a chance =).

              Like

              • Denny Sinnoh says:

                It is a beautiful song. It also proves that Wasamin can sing in any genre. Idol songs or Enka or any style in pop music.

                This is one. There is another newer one, but it might have been taken down. I will see if Mr. Chiu posts more.

                Liked by 1 person

                • Thank you Denny! Not only a beautiful song, as “Hitomi” really provides a strong platform for singers to really show deep emotion in their voice not to mention power. Wasamin does awesome here!!! The video’s title is a but cut off here although I did manage to get the video to play full screen so it looks like a Halloween fan event? In any case she sings beautifully showing nuance and range and I’m so happy that she performed the song in its entirety ^^.

                  Like

                  • Denny Sinnoh says:

                    There is also this little mini-concert. She sings a full “Hitomi” to start, but sings several other Jpop songs. There is even an NMB48 in there. She does not sing full versions of some of the later ones, so I’m not sure what she is promoting. She talks a lot to the audience. At time 20 minutes something she sings a cover of Habako Oku’s “Cinderella” which is unfortunately only a short version.

                    I feel as warm and fuzzy as (inside) Wasamin’s sweater.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • Always the case as soon as your favorite comes up it’s an edited version xD! I wonder if Wasasmin ever reveals if there’s any reason she’s chosen this Ohara Sakurako song “Hitomi” I mean it’s a gorgeous song so no reason is necessary =)! Her range has long impressed me too! I was watching for awhile and yet her poster behind her always seems to be either too far away or cut off up close to read properly… appears to be two events here? Not entirely sure but Wasamin’s no doubt an awesome vocalist!!!

                      Like

          • I like some J-Rock. Yellow Monkey, Blue Hearts, L’arc, X Tokyo, and Mr. Children, and Shiina Ringo when she rocks out, and there was one other who always rocked out and I can’t remember her name but she doesn’t do it anymore I think. She had a lot of mental problems too I believe. She was incredible.

            I think Wasamin will appear on Kouhaku this year. It would be a shame if she wasn’t invited to do so. And no, haven’t heard her do “hitomi.” That’s ridiculous if she did though… just more AMAZING to add to her amazingness!

            Liked by 1 person

            • Thank you for sharing~♡ your J-rock favorites!! And we have mutual likes in L’arc~en~ciel, Shiina Ringo and of course as you probably know from this blog, Mr.Children is my all time most favorite group!!!!! You’ve not said a word on any of my older or recent Mr.Children posts so I had no idea you liked them. =P

              Fingers crossed for Wasamin to be on this year’s Kouhaku!~!

              Like

              • Yeah, I like Mr. Children but I don’t follow them so much these days, for obvious reasons. I have checked out your posts on them! Always a huge fan of what you put up no matter what it’s about! You know what I’m kind of hoping for? Like a Japan festival to tour the US and have all kinds of groups on it, from AKB48 to Perfume to L’arc and Mr. Children, if they would get back together to do it! That would be awesome! Maybe someday. I mean, if Kpop can make it happen, maybe JPOP can too?

                Liked by 1 person

                • I know what you mean about a lack of opportunities to see J-music live locally, here too outside of fan club events which you can’t attend either unless you live in Japan there surprisingly hasn’t been much. So we’ve had ARASHI and Amuro Namie here as the biggest artists to visit with the latter being years ago but as much as J-artists like to come here more often than not it’s rather for a photo shoot. So I totally feel you there.

                  Oh and did you see I left you an in post message here? ….as a means to give the unfamiliar a try =).

                  Like

                • Mmmm… by your non response to the in-post message I left you a week ago I take it you’re not a fan of discovering something new from another person’s musical passions. It’s okay, just thought those were really catchy suggestions to dip your musical taste buds into.

                  Like

  2. Denny Sinnoh says:

    Closing the blinds. Closing my office door. Canceling all appointments. No work will be done today.

    Liked by 1 person

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