Angelia Binder

Written by Angelia Binder

Modified & Updated: 02 Jun 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett


One of the most popular and highly anticipated events in Japan is the K?haku Uta Gassen, a New Year’s Eve music show that has been captivating audiences for decades. This annual extravaganza brings together some of the biggest names in the Japanese music industry, showcasing a wide range of talent and musical genres. From renowned pop artists to traditional enka singers, K?haku Uta Gassen offers a spectacular lineup that appeals to people of all ages.

With its rich history and cultural significance, K?haku Uta Gassen has become an integral part of the New Year’s Eve celebrations in Japan. Millions of people tune in to watch the live broadcast, immersing themselves in the festive atmosphere and enjoying the performances by their favorite artists. In this article, we will delve into the fascinating world of K?haku Uta Gassen and explore 16 interesting facts about this iconic music show.

Key Takeaways:

  • K?haku Uta Gassen is a popular Japanese New Year’s Eve music show with friendly competition between Red and White Teams, showcasing diverse music genres and special collaborations.
  • The show’s rich history, international appeal, and emphasis on unity make it a beloved annual event, captivating audiences with vibrant performances and a spectacular fireworks display.
Table of Contents

K?haku Uta Gassen is an annual Japanese music show.

K?haku Uta Gassen, which translates to “Red and White Song Battle,” is a highly anticipated music show that takes place every New Year’s Eve in Japan. It is a year-end tradition that brings together some of the biggest names in the Japanese music industry.

The show features a friendly competition between two teams.

One team, the “Red Team,” consists of female artists, while the other, the “White Team,” features male artists. The two teams compete against each other in an exciting battle of musical performances.

K?haku Uta Gassen has been broadcast since 1951.

The show has a long and rich history, dating back to its first broadcast in It has become a beloved cultural event in Japan, marking the transition from one year to the next with spectacular performances.

The performers are carefully selected.

Being invited to perform on K?haku Uta Gassen is considered an honor for Japanese artists. The selection process is rigorous, with only the most popular and influential singers and bands earning a coveted spot on the lineup.

The show attracts a massive television audience.

K?haku Uta Gassen is consistently one of the most-watched television programs in Japan. Families gather around their TVs to enjoy the performances and cheer for their favorite artists, making it a shared experience nationwide.

A panel of judges decides the winning team.

At the end of the show, a panel of judges, made up of industry experts, decides which team emerged as the winner based on various criteria such as audience applause, singing talent, and overall stage presence.

K?haku Uta Gassen showcases a wide range of music genres.

The show features performances from different genres, including pop, rock, enka (a traditional Japanese music genre), hip hop, and more. This diverse lineup ensures that there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Special collaborations and duets are a highlight of the show.

K?haku Uta Gassen often brings together artists for special collaborations and duets that are unique to the event. These unexpected pairings create memorable moments for both the performers and the audience.

The show incorporates elaborate stage setups.

K?haku Uta Gassen is known for its grand production value, with elaborate stage designs and special effects that enhance the performances. The visuals add an extra layer of excitement to the already thrilling event.

There are special rules and traditions for the performers.

Performers on K?haku Uta Gassen are required to wear traditional attire, such as kimonos for female artists and hakama (a pleated skirt-like garment) for male artists. These traditional outfits add a touch of elegance and cultural significance to the show.

K?haku Uta Gassen has had its share of legendary performances.

Over the years, K?haku Uta Gassen has witnessed countless legendary performances that have left a lasting impact on both the performers and the audience. These iconic moments have become an integral part of the show’s history.

The show is not immune to controversies and debates.

Like any major event, K?haku Uta Gassen has faced its fair share of controversies and debates, such as disagreements over the selection of artists or the outcome of the competition. These discussions only add to the anticipation and excitement surrounding the show.

K?haku Uta Gassen has international appeal.

While primarily a Japanese event, K?haku Uta Gassen has gained international recognition and has attracted viewers from around the world. Its unique format and captivating performances have made it a cultural phenomenon beyond Japan’s borders.

The show often ends with a spectacular fireworks display.

To mark the end of the year and the conclusion of K?haku Uta Gassen, a magnificent fireworks display illuminates the night sky. The colorful bursts of light symbolize the celebration of new beginnings and the anticipation of the year ahead.

K?haku Uta Gassen embraces the spirit of unity and togetherness.

K?haku Uta Gassen reflects the Japanese values of unity and harmony, as it brings people from all walks of life together to celebrate the power of music. It serves as a reminder of the importance of coming together, especially during special occasions.

The show’s popularity continues to grow.

Decades after its inception, K?haku Uta Gassen continues to captivate audiences and gain new fans. Its enduring popularity speaks to the timeless appeal of great music and the joy it brings to people’s lives.


K?haku Uta Gassen, the iconic New Year’s Eve music show in Japan, is a cultural phenomenon that has captivated audiences for decades. From its inception in 1951, the annual event has become a beloved tradition, showcasing the talent of the country’s top musical artists. With its unique format of pitting male and female performers against each other, K?haku Uta Gassen creates an exciting competition that brings people together to celebrate the end of the year.

As the show continues to evolve and adapt to the changing music landscape, it remains a must-watch event for music lovers in Japan and around the world. From memorable collaborations and special performances to the anticipation of which team will emerge victorious, K?haku Uta Gassen is a spectacle that has left a lasting impact on the music industry.

Whether you’re a fan of J-pop, traditional Japanese music, or simply enjoy watching captivating performances, K?haku Uta Gassen is a New Year’s Eve tradition that shouldn’t be missed.


Q: When did K?haku Uta Gassen first start?

A: K?haku Uta Gassen began in 1951 and has been held annually on New Year’s Eve ever since.

Q: How is K?haku Uta Gassen different from other music shows?

A: One of the unique aspects of K?haku Uta Gassen is that it divides performers into two teams, male and female, creating a friendly competition.

Q: Who are the hosts of K?haku Uta Gassen?

A: The hosts of K?haku Uta Gassen vary each year and are usually popular television personalities or artists.

Q: How are the songs chosen for K?haku Uta Gassen?

A: The songs performed during the show are typically chosen based on their popularity and cultural significance throughout the year.

Q: Who performs at K?haku Uta Gassen?

A: K?haku Uta Gassen features a diverse lineup of top Japanese artists from various genres, including J-pop, rock, enka, and more.

As you ring in the new year, why not explore more fascinating aspects of New Year's Eve celebrations, from the dazzling live performances at Red Rocks Amphitheatre to the enchanting sounds of traditional Japanese music played on the shamisen? Each topic offers a unique glimpse into the rich tapestry of human culture and creativity, sure to captivate your imagination and inspire you to discover more.

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