Language | MORNING ENGLISH

Let’s discuss SMAP’s ‘Kohaku’ no-show

This week’s featured article

DAISUKE KIKUCHI, THE JAPAN TIMES

NHK announced the lineup Thursday for the 67th edition of its annual “Kohaku” year-end music contest, but the country’s top boy band SMAP was not on the list.

The five-member group, comprising Masahiro Nakai, Takuya Kimura, Goro Inagaki, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi and Shingo Katori, announced in August that they will split up on Dec. 31, and many fans had been anticipating their appearance on “Kohaku” on their final day as a band.

With their 2003 single “The Only Flower in the World” having sold nearly 3 million copies, SMAP is considered one of the most successful boy groups in Asia.

Following the announcement, some disappointed fans posted their thoughts on Twitter. While one user, @PoTaTo_777SOUL, said “I wanted SMAP to appear in Kohaku” on their final day, another, @gsamiazpy, said: “Let’s hope they’ll come back with a perfect stage” performance.

Some reports, including an article in the Asahi Shimbun, said there is still a possibility that the group will appear in a special section, saying that NHK is still negotiating with the group’s agency, Johnny & Associates.

However, last year’s installment earned the lowest ratings in the extravaganza’s 65-year history, according to TV audience researcher Video Research Ltd. Some netizens said NHK should not use SMAP as an easy way to gain viewers.

Meanwhile, other groups from SMAP’s agency made the list, including Arashi, Tokio, Kinki Kids, V6, Kanjani Eight and Sexy Zone. It will be the first appearance for Kinki Kids.

It was also announced that Arashi member Masaki Aiba will be one of the main presenters on the program, along with actress Kasumi Arimura.

It will also be the first appearance for pop singer Hikaru Utada, whose September album “Fantome” peaked at No. 3 on the U.S. iTunes album chart.

Singer Akiko Wada had been expected to perform for the 40th time, but her name was also not on the list.

Other notable acts include rock bands X Japan, The Yellow Monkey and Sekai no Owari, as well as pop acts including Puffy, Perfume and AKB48.

“Kohaku Uta Gassen” (“Red and White Song Battle”) is one of the nation’s most well-known New Year’s Eve shows.

First published in The Japan Times on Nov. 25.

Warm up

One-minute chat about singers.

Game

Collect words related to music; e.g., instrument, concert, rock.

New words

1) comprise: to contain or be made up of; e.g., “The country comprises 47 prefectures.”

2) extravaganza: a spectacular entertainment; e.g., “The annual Oscars ceremony is a showbiz extravaganza.”

3) netizen: someone who uses the internet a lot; e.g., “Netizens discussed the article a lot online.”

Guess the headline

S_ _ P set to skip year-end ‘K_ _ _ _ _’

Questions

1) How many copies has SMAP’s best-selling single sold?

2) Has NHK given up negotiating with the band?

3) How has “Kohaku” been doing recently?

Let’s discuss the article

1) Do you watch “Kohaku”?

2) Do you think SMAP will appear on “Kohaku”? If so, would you watch the program?

3) What do you think about SMAP and their plan to disband?

Reference

国民的と形容されるタレントの中でも、その進退がこれほどまでにニュースを賑わわせることはSMAPの存在感を改めて示すことになったでしょう。これまで公共のイメージキャラクターなども数多く務めてきた彼らの区切りの場として紅白のステージへの出演をNHKも切望してきたようですが、その実現は簡単ではなさそうです。TVの向こうから社会に大きな影響や経済効果を生み 出してきたグループの解散は私たちの生活にも変化を与えるのでしょうか。

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