Regarding the story "Kohaku music show ratings dive to new low" in the Jan. 4 edition, it is really not at all surprising that the viewer ratings are falling.

In recent years, certain changes have been made in the staging which have been having a decidedly negative effect. There are two major problems. First, extremely obtrusive graphics, animation footage, laser beams and the like are now projected on or from huge screens behind the performers.

These, far from enhancing the performances, have the opposite effect of reducing the singers to miniature-sized near-silhouettes in front of these violently flashing displays, thus reducing the human element and making it difficult to appreciate an individual singer's personal performance and vocal skills.

Second, there is a serious blurring of gender. The show is supposed to be a contest between male and female singers. Nowadays, some male solo singers include backing by groups of female dancers or schoolgirls and male groups sometimes include female instrumentalists. The same confusion exists on the female side of the show.

NHK needs to consider reducing these unnecessary technical extravaganzas and make it a rule that all of the White performers are male and all the Red ones women.

If the show reverts to its former clear-cut distinctions, ratings will drastically rise again.

Gavin Bantock


The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer's own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.