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NHK sees ratings for ‘Kohaku’ music show sink to lowest ever

Kyodo

NHK’s “Kohaku” year-end music show earned a viewership rating of just 39.2 percent on New Year’s Eve — the lowest in the annual extravaganza’s 65-year history, according to TV audience researcher Video Research Ltd.

In its heyday, the music show featuring the year’s most successful singers logged a staggering rating of 81.4 percent, in 1963.

Both ratings were compiled by Video Research and represent the results from the Kanto region.

The program, which used to be loved by all generations, “failed to attract people who never watched Kohaku,” said music industry analyst Takashi Usui.

“Artists popular with youths appeared early in the show, and its finale consisted only of safe options based on past hit songs. There were no surprises, which ought to be a characteristic of a live program.”

“Kohaku Uta Gassen” (“Red and White Song Battle”) has been divided into two parts since 1989. The rating for the second part, which includes the finale, is considered the show’s primary barometer of popularity.

For the latest show, that rating sank 3.0 points from the previous year.

The Kanto rating for the first part was 34.8 percent, down 0.3 point.

But Usui said that the results do not reflect those who watched the show on smartphones, so it still has the potential to make a comeback.

“Young people used to think ‘Kohaku’ was uncool. This image is waning and the show can increase its popularity by using more ingenuity in production and a wiser order for the singers,” he said.

“Kohaku” started in 1951 as a radio program. The show puts female singers in the red group and male singers in the white group. At the end of the show, judges and the audience vote to decide which group performed better.

  • Max Erimo

    Do people still actually watch this? Another great waste of my NHK fees of which I’m sure are unconstitutional.

  • Max Erimo

    Do people still actually watch this? Another great waste of my NHK fees of which I’m sure are unconstitutional.

  • Jay

    I watched a part of it with family. The same old faces, year after year after year do nothing to improve the show. In a year of global recognition of climate change, the terrorist tragedy in Paris, a massive wave of refugees out of Syria, and amidst all the failure of Abenomics, it becomes difficult to appreciate the cutesy pop nonsense of AKB48 or the navel-gazing enka of older Japanese performers. The Kohaku, like Japanese festivals, needs to grow and change, and not simply repeat itself ad nauseum. A first step might be to introduce some foreign performers and show that Japan is not an Edo-period island closed off to the rest of the world.

    • Tangerine 18

      It’s a nice idea Jay but who would want to fly halfway around the world on New Years Eve to appear on this tired old relic? Susan Boyle appeared a few years back, which says a lot about the show’s pulling power.
      Still, it’s a “tradition” and seems to satisfy its target audience – 14 year old girls and 80 year old women.

      • Jay

        You have a point. And I suppose it would undermine the main purpose of the show: to reinforce uniquely Japanese culture and values. Which makes me wonder why Susan Boyle was invited at all.

    • Tangerine 18

      It’s a nice idea Jay but who would want to fly halfway around the world on New Years Eve to appear on this tired old relic? Susan Boyle appeared a few years back, which says a lot about the show’s pulling power.
      Still, it’s a “tradition” and seems to satisfy its target audience – 14 year old girls and 80 year old women.

  • Kessek

    To be fair, this year’s batsu game was fairly dull and tired.

  • MissUnFortune

    PUT ME IN THE GAME, COACH!

  • aleatoria

    Well, I’d say it might also be the lack of any interesting/good music, which is a result of music industry being completely dominated by businessmen rather than actual musicians. Just an idea.