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NHK's annual 'Kohaku' music show sees ratings fall to record low

Kyodo

NHK’s “Kohaku” song festival on New Year’s Eve saw its viewer share fall to a record low despite special appearances by stars including comedian Takeshi Kitano and American rock band Kiss, a survey by a TV research firm showed Thursday.

The average rating for the annual show’s second part was 37.3 percent in Tokyo and other parts of the Kanto region, down from 41.5 percent the previous year, according to Video Research Ltd.

The public broadcaster’s “Kohaku Uta Gassen” show, literally “Red and White Song Battle,” has been split into two parts since 1989, and the rating for the second part, including the finale, is considered the primary barometer of its popularity.

The show’s previous low rating was 39.2 percent in 2015. This year’s viewership was also lower than at any time before the show was split into two parts, according to the TV audience research company.

In its heyday in the 1980s, the music show featuring popular singers logged huge ratings, peaking at 81.4 percent in 1963.

The show started in 1951 as a New Year’s radio program and two years later moved to television. A red group of female singers and white group of male singers battle it out, with judges and the audience voting to decide which group performed better.

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