NHK WORLD-JAPAN presents SONGS OF TOKYO at NHK Hall – Day 2

live report - 11.02.2018 20:01

Day 2 of “NHK WORLD-JAPAN presents SONGS OF TOKYO” featured performances by Uchida Maaya, Nogizaka46, Miura Daichi, DA PUMP, Golden Bomber, Ishikawa Sayuri, and KANJANI∞.

The second edition of NHK WORLD-JAPAN presents SONGS OF TOKYO, a program that aims to promote Japanese culture to the world ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics by featuring the musicians who represent Tokyo’s latest music scene, was held at NHK Hall in Shibuya on October 11th and 12th. This report covers the second day of the event.

Uchida Maaya

Voice actress and singer Uchida Maaya started the show with the song youthful beautiful, which is the ending theme for the animated TV series “SSSS.GRIDMAN”. With scenes from the show playing on the stage screen behind her, Uchida’s voice fired the fans up during the uplifting pop song. She continued to entertain the audience by delivering a famous catchphrase of the character she plays in “Chu-2 byo demo KOI ga shitai”. Her performance communicated the fun and cute charm of Japanese animation culture to the crowd, which consisted of people from more than 20 different nationalities. Later, she was accompanied by four backup dancers for the last song, Gimme! Revolution. Fans danced along with her by waving colorful glowsticks.

Set list

01. youthful beautiful
02. Sparkling Daydream
03. Gimme! Revolution

Nogizaka46


© NHK

One of the most popular Japanese idol groups, Nogizaka46, appeared on the stage next. The group of beautiful girls were elegantly dressed in white, and they intoxicated fans with their sweetness from the start of the very first song, Synchronicity. The members danced ballet-like choreography to the soothing melody of the song. While melting fans’ hearts with their gentle voices, the members skillfully changed their positions within the formation.

The group continued to allure fans during the next song, Influencer. They gracefully moved their arms around, sometimes fluttering their long skirts during the melodious dance number. After the song, Saito Asuka greeted the fans in English, “There are many cute girls. Please find your favorite!” The audience was hit with a cuteness overload when all of the members stood and sang side by side during the last song, Jikochu de Ikou!.

Set list

01. Synchronicity
02. Influencer
03. Inochi wa Utsukushii
04. Jikochu de Ikou!

Miura Daichi


© NHK

Later, Miura Daichi took over the stage. The multitalented artist immediately drew fans into his world with his charismatic vocals and sharp dance moves during (RE)PLAY. Miura showed off dynamic moves with his four backup dancers. Fans were amazed by how Miura could deliver such powerful vocals and even end with a friendly smile after the speedy dance moves.

“I am honored to be able to perform in this show connecting Japan and the world. I would like to connect with you guys so that together we can overcome walls and borders,” Miura greeted the fans. Later, Miura stirred up the audience, getting them to clap for the last song Be Myself. As Miura is also a choreographer, he communicated his passion and sense of freedom through his physical moves. Fans naturally sang along with Miura and gave him a huge ovation after the song.

Set list

01. (RE)PLAY
02. Hikousen
03. Be Myself

DA PUMP


© NHK

Afterwards, the dance unit DA PUMP came onto the stage. During the first song, Gokigendaze!, the unit consisting of seven phenomenal dancers showed off their synchronized moves under the glittering stage lights. The lead singer ISSA wowed fans not only with his powerful high tone vocals, but also with his rap interlude. DA PUMP performed one of their classic songs, If…, next. ISSA, clad in a stylish black suit, sang the mellow ballad in his rich voice.

“We are so excited to perform in front of such a diverse audience. We personally believe that music can unite the world. That’s been our unchanging belief for 21 years,” ISSA shared his conviction with the crowd before the much-anticipated performance of their latest smash hit U.S.A.. “Everyone can do this dance move, are you ready!” ISSA made a thumbs up gesture and waved his hand. Fans joyfully joined in with DA PUMP’s so-called “Like!” dance move during the chorus of the song.

Set list

01. Gokigendaze!
02. If…
03. Dance Section (Like This)
04. We can’t stop the music
05. U.S.A.

Golden Bomber


© NHK

Next, self-proclaimed “Japanese No.1 visual kei air band” Golden Bomber had the fans bursting into laughter with their hilarious performance. “Air band”, in this case, means that the members of Golden Bomber do not play musical instruments at all when performing. The air band recklessly started the show with #CD ga urenai konna yononakaja. With aggressive rock music playing from their iPod, vocalist Kiryuin Sho, the only member who actually performs his part live, sang of the grim reality of the Japanese music industry.

After the song, “guitarist” Kyan Yutaka spoke to the international audience in English, “I cannot play the guitar. I’m sorry. But, I’m good at making sushi!” The daring air band’s show continued with their popular song Memeshikute. The four members had fans jumping up with them, and they even pulled out the “Like!” dance move from DA PUMP’s U.S.A.. Suddenly, a sushi-oke (flat-bottomed wooden tab) was brought onto the stage. “It’s time for the guitar solo!” Kyan started to make nigiri sushi at Kiryuin’s call. Kyan even went down to the floor and had a fan actually eat the sushi.

The climax of Golden Bomber’s slapstick rock show came during the last song, Mata kimini bangou wo kikenakatta. A large piece of Japanese writing paper used for calligraphy was brought onto the stage for yet another “guitar solo”. “Drummer” Darvish Kenji held Kyan upside-down and put his head into the bucket filled with calligraphy ink. Using Kyan as a brush, Darvish drew out the word “Tokyo” in English on the paper to show the band’s support for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Set list

01. #CD ga urenai konna yononakaja
02. Memeshikute
03. Mata kimini bangou wo kikenakatta

Ishikawa Sayuri


© NHK

Later, enka singer Ishikawa Sayuri amazed the fans with her performance of Hyakki Yakou. The song is a psychedelic trance version of Sōran Bushi, a traditional song from Hokkaido. The group of dancers dressed in festive outfits traditionally worn by Japanese fishermen called “maiwai” danced energetically along to Ishikawa’s vocals, while some of them waved “tairyoubata” (banners used by fishermen to signify a big haul). Ishikawa richly expressed the depth of the Japanese spirit by harmonizing not only the past and present, but also east and west.

Next, Ishikawa enraptured fans by singing her popular song Whisky ga osukidesho with a jazz ensemble. The sweetness of her voice left fans feeling intoxicated. “There are folk songs including dodoitsu, nursery rhymes, and work songs in Japan. I would like people all around the world to enjoy listening to them. We all speak different languages, but we all live on the Earth. I would like to communicate Japanese culture by cherishing my Japanese origin,” Ishikawa said after the song. Finally, Ishikawa performed her signature enka tune, Amagigoe. Backed by the sounds of Japanese traditional instruments and the images of flames projected on the stage screen behind her, Ishikawa left the fans in awe with her inimitable passionate voice.

Set list

01. Hyakki Yakou
02. Whisky ga osukidesho
03. Amagigoe

KANJANI∞

Boy band KANJANI∞ brought the show to a grand finale. One of the group’s members, Murakami Shingo, had also served as one of the hosts of the event. KANJANI∞ started their set with King of Otoko!, which featured powerful shouts accompanied by Karate punch dance moves. Excited audience members waved penlights and fans along with the group’s masculine vocals.

After the great success of their first overseas shows at the Taipei Arena in Taiwan on September 22nd and 23rd this year, KANJANI∞ performed the next song Kokoni with the English translation of the lyrics on the stage screen to help it connect with international fans in the venue. Accompanied by the sounds of string instruments, KANJANI∞ sang out their positive message while also enjoying clapping together with the fans. Lastly, each member individually sang his heart out during the closing song Omoidama. All of the fans stood up and waved their hands left and right with KANJANI∞.

Set list

01. King of Otoko!
02. Kokoni
03. Omoidama

All of the performances from both dates of NHK WORLD-JAPAN presents SONGS OF TOKYO will be broadcast on four separate days: November 17th, 18th, 24th, and 25th. Details on the broadcast times and the artist line-up for each day will be available at the following link: https://www.nhk.or.jp/songsoftokyo/.
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