Yoasobi, NiziU, BiSH and Kat-Tun among the musical acts set to sing in the new year on ‘Kohaku Uta Gassen’

Public broadcaster NHK announced Friday the lineup for its annual New Year’s Eve musical show “Kohaku Uta Gassen.” This year’s contest features a mix of established entertainers and new artists representing the next generation of pop in Japan.

Acts appearing on the show for the first time include viral rock band Dish, emerging pop outfit Snow Man, singer-songwriter Mafumafu, idol-punk group BiSH and trio Awesome City Club. Idol group Kat-Tun, which formed in 2001, will also make its “Kohaku” debut when NHK airs the show on Dec. 31 at 7:30 p.m.

Other notable names set to perform at the 72nd edition of the musical bonanza include the pop duo Yoasobi, idol-pop act NiziU, anime staple LiSA and singer-songwriter Aimyon.

This year’s “Kohaku” will take place at the Tokyo International Forum in Chiyoda Ward instead of the show’s usual venue, NHK Hall, which is undergoing renovations. This marks the first time in 49 years that “Kohaku” will be held outside of the public broadcaster’s headquarters.

A limited number of people will be allowed into the venue to watch the show live. Last year, NHK held “Kohaku” without a live audience for the first time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to NHK’s official site, the theme for this year’s show is “Colorful” to represent the program’s mission to bring “color” to the lives of people during COVID-19 and highlight Japan’s diversity, reflecting the broadcaster’s small steps toward rethinking social norms.

“Kohaku” started in 1951 as a radio program before moving to television two years later. The show traditionally splits female and male performers into red and white teams, respectively, to square off in a musical battle, and the audience and judges declare the winning team before ringing in a new year.

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