Public broadcaster NHK announced Monday the lineup for its annual New Year’s Eve musical show “Kohaku Uta Gassen,” with the notable absence of acts represented by Smile-Up, the talent agency formerly known as Johnny & Associates. It is the first time in 44 years that the company’s performers will not appear on the music show.
The agency, still reeling from the fallout over its reckoning with founder Johnny Kitagawa’s decadeslong history of alleged sexual assault and child abuse, did not factor into NHK’s plans for this year’s program, set to air Dec. 31 at 7:20 p.m. from NHK Hall in Tokyo.
As a result, the 74th edition of the show presents a broader look at the country’s music landscape and its relation to the wider world. Reflecting this year’s theme of “Borderless,” two of the most notable first-time participants come from South Korea: Stray Kids and Seventeen. They will appear alongside returning group Le Sserafim and the debuting trio Misamo, comprising the three Japanese members of pop group Twice.