The red (women’s) team beat the white (men’s) team in the Grateful Crane Ensemble’s “Natsukashi no Kouhaku Uta Gassen,” held Nov. 2 at the James Armstrong Theatre in Torrance. In the tradition of Japan’s annual New Year’s Eve broadcast, the cast imitated famous singers and groups, from Misora Hibari to Jero. Audience members were asked to vote by holding up the red or white side of their fans and the women were declared the winners, breaking a 2-2 tie from previous shows. The singers were Aaron Aoki, Loryce Hashimoto, Haruye Ioka, Keiko Kawashima (who also directed and choreographed), Hideo Kimura, Darrell Kunitomi, Kurt Kuniyoshi, Aimee Machida, Merv Maruyama, Helen Ota, Shaun Shimoda and Fusako Shiotani, with special guest appearances by Mark Jue as Itsuki Hiroshi and Junko Nakamura as Wada Akiko. Soji Kashiwagi wrote and introduced the show.The men ask the audience for support.
The ensemble sang “Hana wa Saku” (Flowers Will Bloom) in tribute to the survivors of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.
An Okinawan medley featured “Shima Uta,” “Nada Sou Sou,” and “Shimanchunu Takara.”
“SMAP” sang their hits “Fly,” “Sotto Kyutto,” and “Yozora no Mukou.”
The 2014 Nisei Week Court danced to Pharrell Williams “Happy” and also sang “Furusato.”