Miyuki Nakajima is the “savior” of the Kohaku Uta Gassen, whose popularity has inevitably plummeted, for a surprising reason: “In the past, the rating was 52%. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Miyuki Nakajima is the “savior” of the Kohaku Uta Gassen, whose popularity has inevitably plummeted, for a surprising reason: “In the past, the rating was 52%.

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Will she be the “savior” of Kohaku?

On October 18, NHK announced that it will start broadcasting a new series of its popular documentary program, “New Project X: The Challengers,” from April 2012.

The former series was broadcast from March ’00 to December ’05, focusing on postwar reconstruction and rapid economic growth. The new series will focus on the “challenges of the lost era” after the collapse of the bubble economy, and will highlight unknown challengers living in the Heisei and Reiwa eras.

The narrator will be actor Tomorowo Taguchi (65), who also worked on the old series. The opening song “Stars on Earth” by singer-songwriter Miyuki Nakajima (71) and the closing song “Headlights/Tail lights” by singer-songwriter Miyuki Nakajima are indispensable to “Project X”. The person in charge of the theme song for the new series commented, “We are still considering it, but we at NHK feel that it is inseparable from Miyuki Nakajima’s theme song.

When the program first started airing, viewer ratings were sluggish. The program’s viewer ratings were sluggish, and it was thought that the program would be terminated prematurely. However, Taguchi’s narration and Nakajima’s theme song, as well as the program’s aggressive stance of handling stories about specific companies by NHK, which had previously not even broadcast the names of companies or products, became the talk of the town.’ In 2001, the average viewer rating was in the 15% range, and in 2002, it was in the 20% range,” said a reporter in charge of broadcasting.

Along with the increase in program ratings, the double A-side single “Jichijo no Hoshi/Headlights/Tail lights,” released in July 2000, was also a big hit. It was ultimately ranked in the Oricon “Weekly Singles Chart Top 100” for 174 consecutive weeks, an astounding record. Nakajima, who at the time had only appeared on stage in his life’s work, the stage production of “Yakai,” made his first appearance in the 53rd Kohaku Uta Gassen (Red and White Singing Contest) on NHK in 2002. He performed “Stars on the Earth” live from the Kurobe Dam in Toyama, which was also featured in the program, despite an incident in which he mispronounced the lyrics.

Many people saw Mr. Nakajima in motion for the first time at Kohaku, and it contributed to the highest rating by a singer, 52.8% (according to Video Research, Kanto region, same below), for Kohaku. However, “Project X” was in its heyday at that time, and its viewer ratings were declining rapidly due to the rut of the project and a series of scandals at NHK.’ The program reached its final episode on December 28, 2005. Mr. Nakajima appeared in the final special and sang “Headlights/Tail lights” in the studio. It was the first time in 24 years that he sang live on TV, so he must have been very attached to the program.

When “Mugi no Uta” was chosen as the theme song for the “Massan” TV series in 2002, she sang it in the station’s studio and made her second appearance in Kohaku that year. The rating was 44.3%, tied for seventh place among singers,” said a music industry insider.

In recent years, Nakajima’s last nationwide tour in 2008 was cancelled due to the declaration of a state of emergency caused by a new type of coronavirus infection, but in 2009, he appeared in a TV commercial for the 30th anniversary of the release of BOSS canned coffee as the “Space President. In 2010, he made his first single appearance in three years. In 2010, he released his first single in three years, “俱に/銀の竜の背に乗る. This year, “Shin’on” was chosen as the theme song for the animated film “Alice and Telles’ Maboroshi Factory” (opening in theaters on September 15), the first anime song of her career.

It is not yet clear whether Mr. Nakajima will be in charge of “Project X,” which will start next year, but viewers should be pleased even if he sings the theme song for the old series. It seems that he is beginning to emerge as the main singer for this year’s Kohaku, as well as PR for the new series.

If this is the third Kohaku and the first time she sings live at NHK Hall, she will be the talk of the town. The viewership ratings of their past appearances have proven that viewers are highly interested in their performances, and this will be the best “catalyst” for the Kohaku, whose viewership ratings are feared to have dropped significantly since last year.

Will Miyuki Nakajima sing once again for “Project X,” which she has a strong emotional attachment to?

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