Minami Hamabe, selected as the first host of “Kohaku”, has “true feelings and unexpected rivalry” with her best friend, Kanna Hashimoto, with whom she is teaming up. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Minami Hamabe, selected as the first host of “Kohaku”, has “true feelings and unexpected rivalry” with her best friend, Kanna Hashimoto, with whom she is teaming up.

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What is the secret thought in her mind?

Actress Minami Hamabe (23) was chosen to host the 74th NHK Kohaku Uta Gassen on New Year’s Eve for the first time. She will host the event with Hiroyuki Ariyoshi (49), actress Kanna Hashimoto (24), and NHK announcer Kozo Takase (47), but the focus of attention will be on the popular young actress duo with her best friend Hashimoto, who is known to be a good friend of hers. It is likely to be a glamorous tag team, but Hamabe is also said to be under intense pressure.

On October 6, NHK announced the host of the Kohaku Shimbun. Only Hashimoto will be hosting for the second time, following last year, but the other three will be hosting for the first time. Ariyoshi, who has regular programs on all of the key stations in Tokyo, is a full-fledged host, and Takase is the narrator for the morning drama “Boogie Woogie,” which will begin in October, so it is likely that she will be able to handle all of them with ease.

Hamabe’s presence is a concern, as she just played the role of the wife of the main character in the morning drama “Ranman,” which ended in September, and she has made a significant contribution to NHK. But whether or not she will be able to host the show with a passing grade is sure to be a hot topic of conversation.

Hamabe and Hashimoto became close friends through their co-starring in NTT Docomo commercials that aired from 1919, and they are real friends in their personal lives as well.

After the announcement, Hashimoto revealed the inside story on X (formerly Twitter), saying, “I had dinner withMi-chanthe other night and we were talking about the Kohaku White. The two were in the same room last August and October, respectively. Last year, the two were photographed visiting Tokyo Disneyland in August and October on their respective Xs. However, it is widely believed that Hamabe also has “true feelings” as an actress for this first Kohaku White.

Hashimoto was highly praised for her imposing performance in last year’s Kohaku White, so she can go into the event with a relaxed attitude. Hamabe, however, is a first-time host, so she is at a disadvantage from the start. However, since they are two popular people, they are sure to be compared in some way during the broadcast. Hamabe, with her high level of professionalism, is probably secretly aware of Hashimoto and harbors a certain rivalry.

At the time of the hosting announcement, Hamabe made the following comment via NHK: “I know there are many things I am not ready for, but I will make all possible preparations until the day of the event (omission) and try to make the historic Kohaku Uta Gassen even more exciting. She is in serious mode.

Hamabe is one year younger than Hashimoto, but both actresses have made a breakthrough in recent years as purist actresses of the same generation. Hamabe is preparing for the November 3 release of “Godzilla-1.0,” in which she will play the heroine, and Hashimoto will star in the drama series “Tokumei,” starting October 16! (Fuji Television Network), a drama series in which Hashimoto stars, started on October 16. Although they are in similar circumstances, there are “subtle differences” between them.

In the case of morning dramas, Hamabe appeared in “Ranman” as the heroine next to Ryunosuke Kamiki, the leading actor, while Hashimoto won the leading role in “Omusubi,” which will start next fall. In her private life, Hamabe and Ryuga of the music unit “Maruri and Ryuga” were allegedly involved in a relationship in September 2009, but in February 2010, “Shukan Josei” reported their breakup. Rumors of her dating another man were also written in some parts of the magazine, but no clear love story has emerged.

Hashimoto, on the other hand, was reportedly in love with popular actor Nakagawa Taishi last October. Their agency did not deny it, and their relationship has been accepted by the public. In both her acting and personal life, Hashimoto seems to be “a little ahead” of her as well as her age, and Hamabe must have some feelings in her heart,” said a wide-show desk reporter.

There is another serious issue concerning this year’s Kohaku. This year’s Kohaku will be a unique one in that the number of entries by talents from the former Johnny’s office, which has been rocked by a sexual assault scandal, is expected to be reduced.

The Kohaku is sure to attract strong public interest in a way that is different from the pure hosting of the festival. In addition to being a “national program” with a strong atmosphere where mistakes and errors are not tolerated, this year’s show will also have the added negative factor of the Johnny’s issue, so it is imperative that the show be conducted well. If the ratings drop, the host will be slammed and compared to Hashimoto, so it is not difficult to imagine that the weight on Hamabe’s shoulders as she takes on her first Kohaku White will be quite heavy.

If Hamabe can successfully host the Kohaku White, she will become one of NHK’s favorite actresses. Will she and her “rivals” be able to successfully complete their major roles in the unusually tense live broadcast of “Johnny’s Kohaku”?

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