Every year, the perfomer list for Kohaku Uta Gassen is highly anticipated. Of particular interest are the acts that will make their first appearance on the show. So who is expected to debut on this year’s Kohaku, the 70th edition and the first of the Reiwa era?
In the last few years, there has been an increase in the number of rock acts debuting on Kohaku. That trend is expected to continue this year as well.
One of the most anticipated debuts is that of Spitz. The band’s song “Yasashii Ano Ko” was the theme song for the NHK asadora “Natsuzora” earlier this year. The song was Spitz’s first asadora theme and has in effect become a new representative song for the band. The beautiful, gentle melody and lyrics of “Yasashii Ano Ko” has allowed it to cross gender and age boundaries. The fact that it was the theme song for NHK’s 100th asadora also brought a new level of attention to the song.
Suda Masaki is another name tipped to debut on this year’s Kohaku. His fame has skyrocketed as both an actor and a musician recently. He’s not only gaining name recognition, but also recognition for his talent. He has collaborated with Ishizaki Huwie and Aimyon, so he may collaborate with them on Kohaku if he appears.
King Gnu could also make their Kohaku debut this year. Their first major label album, “Sympa”, was released in January this year and has been a huge hit, rocketing the band to stardom. It can be said that King Gnu is at the forefront of the Reiwa era’s new guard. Their song “Hakujitsu” was their first drama theme and has topped both download and streaming charts.
Another band that could debut this year is Official HIGE DANdism. They became known last year when their song “No Doubt” was chosen to serve as a drama theme even though the band was still in its indie era. When they went major later that year, Official HIGE DANdism’s actitivies grew, resulting in their first movie theme, “Pretender.” Released this past May, the song is one of the biggest hits of 2019, having garnered more than 100,000,000 streams.
Also of note for a Kohaku debut this year are Mrs. GREEN APPLE due to their January performance on NHK E TV’s “E Uta♪ Kokoro no Daiboken.” Yabai T-Shirts Yasan and Okazaki Taiiku have served as hosts of the buzzy NHK live broadcast show “Tengo-chan” since its August 2018 debut. It seems that young acts who want to appear on Kohaku are appearing on other NHK shows in order to debut.
Similarly, Foorin debuted in the music industry last year with the song “Paprika”, which serves as the NHK 2020 support song. The song, which was written and composed by Yonezu Kenshi, was performed by Foorin at last year’s Kohaku as a special project. This was a big hit among children. Kenshi did a self-cover of the song on NHK’s “Minna no Uta” earlier this year. It is possible that Foorin will debut on Kohaku this year with the song, as opposed to being a special project like last year.
IZ*ONE could also debut on this year’s Kohaku due to the high level of attention they’ve received recently. Their Korean mini album from this past April, “HEART*IZ”, set a new record for the highest first week sales for a girl group in Korea. IZ*ONE’s popularity, which is said to surpass TWICE’s, can not be ignored.
Due to the death of Johnny Kitagawa this year, there will probably be a memorial of some sort on Kohaku. This may result in Johnny’s Jr. groups debuting on this year’s edition. These groups include Travis Japan, HiHi Jets, Bishonen, SixTONES, and Snow Man.