Kenshi Yonezu Will Make TV Debut on Prestigious New Year's Eve Music Program

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Taro Mizutani/Courtesy of Billboard Japan
Kenshi Yonezu 

J-pop hitmaker Kenshi Yonezu made headlines Wednesday (Dec. 26) when NHK dropped the welcome news that he will be performing on this year's Kohaku Uta Gassen music program.

The annual extravaganza is televised live on New Year's Eve and is one of Japan's oldest and most prestigious TV shows. The "Flamingo" singer-songwriter's performance will be his first-ever on television.

Yonezu's segment will be broadcast live from his native Tokushima Prefecture, where he will perform his massive hit "Lemon," Billboard Japan's 2018 song of the year. The track was written specifically for the highly acclaimed drama series Unnatural, which depicted the lives of forensic specialists who investigated mysterious causes of death.

While working on this song about remembering a loved one who has passed away, the 27-year-old lost his own grandfather last year around this time. The song ended up expressing his heartfelt emotions about missing someone who is no longer here, and went on to become one of this year's biggest hits.

The multi-talented artist agreed to appear on Kohaku at the last minute after NHK offered to televise his segment from Tokushima, because he felt that performing the song a year after his grandfather's passing in the place where he had lived seemed fitting.

Yonezu's performance will be the first time in the year-end show's 69-year history that a segment of the program is broadcast live from Tokushima Prefecture, located in Shikoku, one of the main islands of Japan.