I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

J-Canuck's Fantasy Kohaku Utagassen: The RED Team

Well, here goes nothing. This is the RED Team for my Fantasy Kohaku Utagassen, split into 2 sections:

Taeko Ohnuki -- Kuro no Clair (黒のクレール)
Mariya Takeuchi -- September
Ruiko Kurahashi -- Last Scene ni Ai wo Komete(ラストシーンに愛をこめて)
Momoe Yamaguchi -- Yume Saki Annainin(夢先案内人)
Akina Nakamori -- Lonely Journey(ロンリー・ジャーニー)
Toko Furuuchi -- Dare Yori Suki Nanoni(誰より好きなのに)
Pink Lady -- UFO
EPO -- Downtown

I was surprised that Pink Lady had never performed the iconic "UFO" during their heyday on the Kohaku but wouldn't it be amazing to see Mie and Kei lead off the Red Team with this one? I was planning to get even cuter with the baseball analogy and suggest "Southpaw" but, nah, had to go with "UFO".

As I've mentioned once before, Taeko Ohnuki(大貫妙子)used to be a name that fluttered in the wisps of the Japanese pop winds for years before I finally discovered her and her wonderfully quirky/ethereal music. My impression of her is that when she gives concerts, they are of the very intimate variety in an Aoyama nightclub, let's say, or some theatre in a museum since she's not really into the choreography stuff. Instead, she's very still behind the mike as she eloquently sings her ballads. "Kuro no Clair" is one of my very favourites by the singer-songwriter, and I could imagine this being performed during one of the moodier sections of the Kohaku with Ohnuki being on the dark and bare Shibuya stage with one gauzy spotlight over her.

It would be a truly fantasy Kohaku Utagassen to ever see Momoe Yamaguchi(山口百恵)on the stage again. Can you imagine if she ever decided to surprise everyone by actually showing up and performing on New Year's Eve? The bedlam in audiences in and outside of NHK Hall would be on par with watching "The Force Awakens" for "Star Wars" fans. It will never happen but in my fantasy, she'll be up there again performing the happy-go-lucky "Yume Saki Annainin".

Toko Furuuchi(古内東子)has never appeared on the NHK New Year's Eve special as far as I know but this would be the one song that I would love to see her perform on the darkened stage. "Dare Yori Suki Nanoni" would make for a fine soulful addition to the Red team performances, especially since I couldn't fit Misia in.

Hibari Misora -- Kawa no Nagare no Youni(川の流れのように)
Seiko Matsuda -- Himitsu no Hanazono(秘密の花園)
Harumi Miyako -- Suki ni Natta Hito(好きになった人)
Sayuri Ishikawa -- Tsugaru Kaikyo Fuyu Gesshiki(津軽海峡・冬景色)
Mina Aoe -- Isezakicho Blues(伊勢崎町ブルース)
Sachiko Kobayashi & Katsuhiko Miki -- Moshikashite Part 2(もしかして・パート2)
Yumi Matsutoya -- Mamotte Agetai(守ってあげたい)
Teresa Teng -- Tsugunai(つぐない)

Special Guest Star: Akiko Yano -- Harusaki Kobeni (春咲小紅)

Yes, I know...those moans by the late Mina Aoe(青江三奈)will probably have the performance shunted to the post-10 pm time slot by the national broadcaster but heck I like "Isezakicho Blues" for some of that shitamachi-at-night atmosphere. Have a shot of that Kubota while watching Aoe slink across the stage.

Gotta have some Mood Kayo duets as well. And "Moshikashite Part 2" is one of the sparkliest with Sachiko Kobayashi and Katsuhiko Miki(小林幸子・美樹克彦). It's guaranteed to get even grumbly Granddad moving his shoulders at the kotatsu. And even better for the set designers, Sachiko doesn't need to wear anything enormous on the stage.

Speaking of sparkly, I just had to fit in Akiko Yano(矢野顕子)and "Harusaki Kobeni" somehow while holding to that 16-members/team rule. I couldn't so I exercised that "special guest" clause that NHK has pulled for this year's actual Kohaku with the aforementioned Sachiko Kobayashi. Would love to see the lighting effects to go along with the effervescent Yano.

As much as I wanted Pink Lady to start things off on the Red Team, I needed Hibari Misora(美空ひばり)to become the final showstopper on her side. The Queen of Kayo Kyoku just has to finish things off with her epic swan song, "Kawa no Nagare no Youni" to get all viewers' and performers' throats lumping up. The lady may have terrified her contemporaries backstage just with her mere presence but she definitely enthralled them on stage.

Well, those are my 16+1 for the Red Team. I cannot be sure whether this would be a lineup that would win the Kohaku itself but it is a group that I would be happy watching on stage. Hopefully the next few days will have the White Team up depending on how busy I get with the Xmas stuff.


  1. Hi J-Canuck.

    That's a pretty good selection there, comprising of a balance between pop and enka/kayokyoku. I was thinking of my own fantasy line-up after seeing your articles, and in doing so I now see how difficult it is to pick the guests. Initially, most of whom I chose were from the enka side, but then I decided that there should be pop and even aidoru acts to balance stuff out... Sometimes all-enka can get quite boring.

    Here's who I'd pick for the red team. As someone who listens to male singers 85% of the time, it was tough to pick 16 female acts, especially those from the non-enka genres.

    Akina Nakamori - Jikai (1984)
    Momoe Yamaguchi - Yumesaki Annainin (yup, going with this too)
    Yumi Matsutoya - Haru yo, Koi
    Miyuki Nakajima - Sora to Kimi no Aida ni
    Akiko Wada - Warate Yurushite
    Rimi Natsukawa - Nada Sou Sou
    Naomi Chiaki - Tasogare no Beguine
    Kazuko Matsuda - One Rainy Night in Tokyo
    Aya Shimazu - Sugata Sanshiro (Cover of Muchi's song)
    Sayuri Ishikawa - Amagi Goe (haven't heard enough of it yet)
    Fuyumi Sakamoto - Otoko no Hi Matsuri
    Masako Mori - Oiran (with Ryudo Uzaki as a guest on the guitar??)
    Yoshimi Tendo - Dotonbori Ninjo
    Noriko Aoya - Wakare no Blues
    Kiyoko Suizenji - Ippon Doko no Uta
    And of course...,
    Hibari Misora - Ai San San (tough to choose between "Kawa no Nagare no Youni" and this one)

    Will be waiting for the white team article to be up, but take your time - no need to hurry.

    1. Hi, Noelle.

      That's a good lineup as well. If you have the time and inclination, feel free to put up your list as an official article. You can follow your own format. :) You don't even have to follow the Kohaku Utagassen pattern...perhaps just consider it as a New Year's enka special.

      Yeah, it might take a couple of more days to get the White team up. I've got some translations to do before Xmas.

    2. Hello J-Canuck.

      I'm back. Anyways, I think I will put up my own list for my dream Kohaku line-up while doing an article on my thoughts on the upcoming Kohaku when its over.

      I read your article on the White team... Well, I won't list down who's in my list yet as I have done so for the Red team (may have some changes), but I'm sure you'd be able to guess at least half of my picks. :)

    3. Hi Noelle and welcome back!

      Definitely will be looking forward to your picks for the list. I've already set the VCR to record the Kohaku tomorrow morning here (it starts live 5:15 am in Toronto).

    4. Naomi Chiaki - Tasogare no Beguine
      Hibari Misora - Ai San San

      Definitely would like to hear those two especially again.


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