In order to cheer up victims of the Tohoku earthquake with the power of music, NHK announced on September 8th that this year’s “62nd Kohaku Uta Gassen” will air 15 minutes earlier than the usual, at 7:15 pm. With this earlier airing, this year’s Kohaku will be the longest broadcast in history (tied with the 2009 broadcast, which was the 60th anniversary of the show).
The year end song battle started out as a radio program called “Kohaku Ongaku Shiai“, which first aired in 1945 with the aim of cheering people up post-WWII. NHK has decided to go back to this original aim this year. The station will consider increases in the number of participants and songs at a later date. The end time of the broadcast remains the same at 11:45 pm.source