May 1-2 — Nostalgic Japanese enka songs and entertaining impressions of famous Japanese singers will be featured at “Natsukashi no Kouhaku Uta Gassen,” on Saturday, May 1 at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. at the Tateuchi Democracy Forum in Little Tokyo, downtown Los Angeles. The Sunday show at 2 p.m. is sold out.
Presented by the Grateful Crane Ensemble and the Japanese American National Musuem (JANM), this version of “Kouhaku” is a spoof of Japan’s famous “Kouhaku Uta Gassen” broadcast nationally every New Year’s Eve on
Sponsored in part by Tomiye Sumner, Manabi and Sumi Hirasaki, Ernest Doizaki, Hiroshi & Sadako Kashiwagi and Paul Shishima, this production is the third in a special series of Grateful Crane shows presented in
partnership with JANM at the Tateuchi Democracy Forum. Directed by Keiko Kawashima with sound by Scott Nagatani, the two-act show pits the Red Team (Women) vs. the White Team (Men) in a battle of the sexes singing duel, with the audience deciding the winner at the end of the show.
“As Japanese Americans, many of us grew up watching ‘Kouhaku’ with our parents and grandparents every New Year’s Eve,” said Soji Kashiwagi, executive producer of the Grateful Crane Ensemble. “By singing their
favorite Japanese songs from the past, we honor and remember our Issei and Nisei, and celebrate our Japanese heritage as well.”
Famous songs by Misora Hibari, Itsuki Hiroshi, Yamaguchi Momoe, Saijo Hideki, Go Hiromi, Nakamura Mitsuko and Mikawa Kenichi will be presented, along with modern-day tunes by Natsukawa Rimi, Jero and SMAP.
Featured in the show’s cast include Aaron Aoki, Loryce Hashimoto, Haruye Ioka, Keiko Kawashima, Hideo Kimura, Darrell Kunitomi, Kurt Kuniyoshi, Aimee Machida, Merv Maruyama, Junko Nakamura, Helen Ota, Shaun Shimoda and Fusako Shiotani.
The Tateuchi Democracy Forum is located at 111 N. Central Avenue in Little Tokyo, across from JANM. General admission tickets are $25, $23 for JANM members, seniors and students; and a group rate of $20 for groups of ten or more. To order tickets, call the Grateful Crane hotline at (323) 769-5503. (Leave a message and you will receive a call back.)