Nov 30 2011
Let me start off by saying that I certainly did not expect Morning Musume or Mobekimasu to be invited to Kohaku this year, because apparently the Japanese entertainment industry now hates them or something. Feel free to mumble conspiracy theories to yourself at this point. I did think that maybe with the relative success of MM and Mobekimasu’s singles this year (55K+ ain’t bad) and their strong promotional campaign, there was a chance, but a slim one. So am I disappointed? Sure. Surprised? No.
What does surprise me is who was invited. According to THIS post we not only have the usual crowd of enka singers who only the very old people care about, but some rather.. odd choices. Tangent alert! I’ve always felt that a big problem with Kohaku, and probably the reason their ratings seem to be on the decline, is that they’re trying to appease too many people at once and thereby end up pleasing nobody. Enka for the old people, pop for the young people. The problem is, the young people stop watching because they hate the enka, and the old people stop watching because they hate the pop, so in the end, a lot of potential viewers are lost. It’s like having a concert that’s a combo of gangsta rap and smooth jazz. No one wants to listen to the whole thing. I know this idea is unthinkable, but I think they’d have more success overall if they threw two Kohakus, one for enka and one for pop. Then they could invite more performers from both camps too!
Anyway, back to some of the choices of invites. On the list we have…
*Several groups whose best single this year undersold Morning Musume and Mobekimasu, one of which (Tokio) sold less than half as many copies.
*Groups that released only one single this year (NYC, Tokio again)
*And (this blows my mind) an artist who hasn’t released even one CD since 2009 and hasn’t so much as picked up a microphone since Kohaku last year.
??? Huh??? First, I get that Tokio and NYC have extra power because they are Johnnies, but the weird part is that there are much more popular Johnny’s groups that also released more music this year and DIDN’T get an invite. If they can only send so many Johnny’s, why not send their most popular? Especially since their new years countdown has turned into a Juniors thing. Or why not send the newly debuted groups they’re interested in promoting? I really do love Tokio, but they clearly have barely any fans anymore, so why them? (Instead of Kisumai, or KAT-TUN, or Kanjani 8, or anyone else really. Is it a dislike of the letter ‘K’?)
Koda Kumi I get. She also undersold MM, but everyone and their dog knows who she is. But how does AAA get an invite? They consistently undersell MM, and not only are they not very popular now, they’ve never been very popular, so they’re not riding on powerful name recognition.
As for Ayaka, nice that she’s coming back after a long hiatus, but how about putting her on Kohaku after she has her comeback. Getting an invite is supposed to be such an honor, and I think the performers should have to earn that honor anew every year. If you didn’t do anything this year, make way for someone who did.
In the end, all I can say is THANK GOD they didn’t invite Dream Morning Musume without inviting regular Morning Musume. That would be so incredibly insulting and undermining to the current group; it would make the treatment they’ve gotten from music shows look positively friendly. I’d MUCH rather neither group gets invited than just Dream Morning Musume.
PS. I wonder how the anti-hallyu people are reacting to all the K-Pop groups invited to this very Japanese tradition? Defecating rectangular building materials is my guess
PPS. Don’t forget to vote in the poll!