Rafu Wire Services
This year’s “Kohaku Uta Gassen,” the perennial musical TV favorite at year’s end in Japan, will not have one of its marquee performers this year.
Singer Seiko Matsuda has decided not to join this year’s “Kohaku,” following the untimely death of her daughter, 35-year-old Sayaka Kanda, on Dec. 18.
National broadcaster NHK, which will stage the 72nd edition of the longtime variety program, has not commented on the reason for Matsuda’s decision.
Matsuda, 59, has appeared in the popular New Year’s Eve program of the public broadcaster a total of 24 times.
NHK made no reference to Matsuda when it announced last week the songs to be performed by other artists on the program.
Also know as the Red and White Music Festival, “Kohaku” will be aired in Southern California this year beginning at noon on Dec. 31, and again at noon on Jan. 1, over KXLA Channel 44.1.
The broadcast is presented by Japan Hollywood Network, and can be received over the air for free across the Los Angeles and Orange County area. The station is also included in most local cable system lineups.
Kanda, the daughter of Matsuda and actor Masaki Kanda, died after falling from a hotel building in Sapporo, the capital of Japan’s northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido. Known for voicing the lead character Anna in the Japanese-dubbed versions of the Disney animated film “Frozen” and its sequel, Kanda was found around 1 p.m. lying in an outdoor space on the 14th floor of the 22-story hotel where she was staying.
Police have ruled out foul play and believe the actress committed suicide or fell accidentally.
Kanda did not show up for her performance in the musical “My Fair Lady” at a Sapporo theater that Saturday afternoon, but was at a rehearsal on Friday, according to producers.