There’s been a lot of news recently about the appearance, and unfortunate non-appearance, of the various 48-groups in NHK’s super popular end-year music show, Kouhaku Uta Gassen. Unlike previous years, SKE and HKT have dropped off, and members on both sides painfully lament about their misfortunes.
For those unaware, Kouhaku Uta Gassen (usually referred to as just “Kouhaku”) is an annual year-end music show produced by NHK. Similar to AKB’s own kouhaku, there are two teams (red and white) who complete in a “song battle” or sorts. In NHK’s version, the Red team is composed of all females, and the white team of all males.
Kouhaku is one of the most watched TV shows of every year — it’s not unusual for ratings to reach 50% (meaning half of all Japanese watching TV are watching Kouhaku). For this reason, it’s a pretty big deal for guests who are invited to the show, as it can be an indicator of a guest’s / group’s popularity among the general public.
Most of the 48-groups have appeared on kouhaku. In 2015, Nogizaka 46 is also scheduled to appear for the first time.Last year, most of the 48-groups appeared: SKE48, HKT48, AKB48, and NMB48. Unfortunately, it’s not the case this year. While NMB48 and AKB48 were still invited to kouhaku this year, HKT48 and SKE48 were not.
Fans and members of these groups are taking it pretty hard, speculating as to what it means, what’s the cause, etc.
Reactions from SKE48 members
From Suda Akari‘s blog post, just before the announcement (dated November 26, 2015): “I need to talk about something incredible. The dressing room is really uneasy. It’s the day of that annual announcement.”
Kato Rumi: “I’m not really sure what to write right now. I can’t really put it all together. I’m just really frustrated.”
— 宮澤佐江 (@oyasuminaSAE_m) November 26, 2015
Miyazawa Sae: “During this weekend’s rehearsal, I was really uneasy. Congratulations to AKB, NMB, and Nogazaka46 for appearing in Kouhaku Uta Gassen. Don’t take it for granted that we’ll be invited to kouhaku. Even AKB wasn’t called one year. So please try again, okay? And all the fans too! Please smile!”
— 大場美奈 (@mina_ovo) November 26, 2015
Oba Mina: “As a member of SKE48, I’m really frustrated for ‘dropping the baton’. I need to try harder, and there’s so many things that I lack. Taking this news in stride, we have to try much harder again, starting tomorrow. I can’t give up. I want this group to be loved by everyone. I’m aiming to appear in Kouhaku next year!”
Matsui Rena: “I heard about kouhaku after work today. Congrats to Nogizaka46 on their first appearance. It’s unfortunate about SKE. I’m not sure how to feel — it’s a mix of happiness and frustration. But this isn’t the end. SKE will always, always, always continue onward.”
Reactions from HKT48 Members
Moriyasu Madoka (selected): “This year, HKT48’s name wasn’t there. I’m sorry. We gathered in a circle, and we all heard the news from Sasshi. She said to us, ‘It’s unfortunate about this year, but next year, I want everyone’s strength to bring us to kouhaku’. I saw Manager Ozaki, who’s normally very bright, shed tears in front of us for the first time. Last year, we relied on Sasshi’s strength. This year, I wanted someone to say it was because of us. But we didn’t have the strength.”
Kodama Haruka (selected): “We were dropped from kouhaku. Honestly, it’s really frustrating. This entire year, we aimed for it, and we tried our best in our own way. But it seems it wasn’t enough…”
Sakaguchi Riko (selected): “The Kouhaku Uta Gassen guest announcement was today. HKT48 didn’t make it. I’m so, so, so frustrated. Sasshi and Love-tan said to us, ‘Please bring us all to Kouhaku’. I definitely want that wish to come true.”
Tashima Meru (post now deleted): “Sashiko-chan talked to all of us yesterday. While she cried, she said to us: ‘This year, I really wanted to bring all of you to Kouhaku’. Mr. Ozaki also talked to us, altering being brought to tears. Sakura-chan and Haruppi cried too. But I couldn’t cry. My tears didn’t come out. What did I do this year… what did I do this year that would allow me to cry? I was so shocked at my weakness.” (さしこちゃんが昨日皆んなの前で話してくれました。「私は今年の紅白に皆んなをまた連れて行ってあげたかった」と。泣きながら…すごく。尾崎さんも涙ぐみながらお話ししてくれました。さくちゃんもはるっぴさんも泣いてました。でも私は泣けませんでした。涙が出てこなかったのです。)
Let’s see how next year goes!
I’m writing about useless and stupid things a lot, and I like to laugh. My policy is 一期一会。It means treasure your meeting with everyone!