The performers for the “73rd NHK Kohaku Uta Gassen” were revealed this week. There were many surprises, including one involving the top divas of the 80s. It was expected that Akina Nakamori and Seiko Matsuda would return to the “Kohaku” stage, but somehow Shizuka Kudo was named instead. “But how?”, asks Tokyo Sports.
This past July, NHK aired a new version of an Akina concert, “Akina Nakamori Special Live 1989 Remaster Ban”, to great response. So great in fact that many made calls for Akina to make a full comeback and return to “Kohaku.”
Akina heard the response and broke her silence to release a statement, saying that she had started her own agency and was preparing to make a comeback. Despite this news, there was no Akina on this week’s list.
According to a music industry official, the “Kohaku” organizers kept checking on Akina’s condition out of a desire for her to appear on the show. However, her physical and mental states were not the best, resulting in her not being able to return to to this year’s show.
Seiko Matsuda was schedule to appear on last year’s “Kohaku.” Tragically, her only child, Sayaka Kanda, died days before the show. Seiko halted all activities, resuming them this past April.
According to another music industry official, NHK approached Seiko about this year’s Kohaku, but she declined. “She has turned down all offers for TV music specials. Even if she can sing in front of her fans, she probably doesn’t feel like singing on TV yet,” the official said.
An unexpected name is making a return to the “Kohaku” stage though: Shizuka Kudo. This will be her ninth time on the show and her first since 1998. She is currently celebrating the 35th anniversary of her solo debut, having appeared on the NHK music shows “Utacon” and “SONGS” earlier this year. It is expected that she will be accompanied on “Kohaku” by her eldest daughter, the flutist Cocomi.
However, not all welcome Shizuka’s comeback. According to an entertainment industry official, “When Shizuka’s name was announced, the anti-Shizuka SMAP fans booed, saying ‘Don’t show up!'” This Shizuka hate stems from the fact that many SMAP fans see her as the mastermind of the group’s demise, due to her control of her husband, Takuya Kimura.