Godzilla to Storm This Year’s Kōhaku Song Contest
NHK marks the end of the year in Japan with the long-running Kōhaku Uta Gassen (“Red and White Song Contest”), a musical competition between that year’s most popular acts. It’s a chance for old favorites to serenade their fans and up-and-coming stars to show off their talent. It’s also an opportunity for current trends in popular culture to make an appearance. This year, the star of 2016’s hit film will attend the party… Unfortunately for the audience, that film is Shin Godzilla.
In this case, Godzilla won’t put on a show or sing a song, but attack the contest. It’s a good thing he telegraphed his plans so far in advance: the team of heroes that sealed him away in the film will be there to take care of him again.
To continue the Shin Godzilla theme, the composer of that film, Shirō Sagisu (Neon Genesis Evangelion, Bleach, Kimagure Orange Road), will compose the opening theme of the contest, “Fly into the Sun.” Sagisu says he chose a positive, forward-thinking message that evokes the first sunrise of the new year (which is considered especially auspicious in Japan).
In other Kōhaku news, the boy band SMAP will not be appearing at the contest. They have been fixtures at the contest since 1991 and often performed the final song of the night. They also will not appear on the December 26 finale of Fuji TV‘s SMAP×SMAP, a popular variety show. The group still plans to disband on December 31.
This year’s Kōhaku Song Contest will still feature popular acts like AKB48, Perfume, RADWIMPS and THE YELLOW MONKEY. Performers compete against the opposite gender, hence the “Red and White” of the title (the Red Team is all-female and the White Team is all-male). The program airs from 7:15 to 11:45 PM.