Actor Yo Oizumi returns for his second year as host of “The Red and White Music Festival,” and will be joined this year by actress Haruna Kawaguchi (left) and NHK announcer Mayuko Wakuda.

The Red and White Music Festival, known most commonly in Japan as “Kouhaku” (紅白), 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 County and Orange County area. The station is also included in most local cable system lineups.

The 72nd edition of the program, a New Year’s staple of TV viewing for generations, will be hosted by actor Yo Oizumi and actress Haruna Kawaguchi, along with NHK announcer Mayuko Wakuda.

The show pits two teams against each other to perform long-standng classics as well as the hottest current hits. Established stars of “enka” are a hallmark of the program; for pop stars, making their debut on “Kouhaku” is confirmation of their ascent to the toppermost of music in Japan.

A noticeable difference in this year’s program will be a move toward gender neutrality. No longer will there be separate hosts for the male “White Team” and the female “Red Team.” Instead, the two hosts that would have previously headed those teams will share duties with the main host, and encourage all the performers, regardless of their gender.

The theme for the 72nd Kouhaku is “Colorful.” As COVID-19 continues to force restrictions on our lives – last year’s show was held without a live audience – many of us have gotten used to the lackluster days. This year’s program hopes to make the last night of 2021 a little more colorful with red and white as well as a nod to diversity.

Among the featured artists who will perform this year are:

Red team – Ai Uemura, Yoshimi Tendo, Perfume, Sayuri Ishikawa, Sakurazaka46, Hiroko Yakushimaru, Kaori Mizumori, Tokyo Jihen, BiSH, Hinatazaka46, Yoasobi, Awesome City Club, Mone Kamishiraishi, NiziU, Nogizaka46, Misia and Seiko Matsuda;

White Team – Kat-Tun, Yuzu, Tomoyasu Hotei, King & Prince, Masayuki Suzuki, SixTones, Snow Man, Masaharu Fukuyama, Bump Of Chicken, Hiroshi Miyama, Gen Hoshino, Generations from Exile Tribe, Keisuke Yamauchi, Kanjani8, Hiroji Miyamoto, Dish, Kiyoshi Hikawa and Hiromi Go.

Japan Hollywood Network can be viewed by anyone that can receive an over-the-air television signal in the KXLA broadcasting area. Those who receive via antenna can find it on CH 44.1. For cable and satellite users, check your lineup for channel numbers.

For more information, visit the JHN website, http://jhollywoodnet.com.  

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