Just for a change, I’ll round up a few statistics that have been recorded over the Japanese New Year.
First, the Red and White Song Contest, a venerable Hogmanay institution in Japan, comparable to Scotland’s dearly missed Scotch and Rye with 80% viewing share, but recently losing badly in the ratings to the commercial competition, in particular K-1 and its fixed (I strongly suspect so, anyway) freakshow fights. Back at the Kohaku, as the Japanese title is usually abreviated to, fronted this year by the Guinness World Record holding Mino Monta (for appearing for 34 hours and 45 minutes per week on TV!) in an attempt to boost ratings. The first half got 35.4% share and second half managed 42.9% in Tokyo and the surrounding regions, breaking a seven year ratings slide. The Osaka area got 32.0% and 39.4% respectively, with two other channels showing fights, namely Fuju TV’s PRIDE and TBS’s K-1 getting 17.0% and 14.8% respectively in the Tokyo area.
This year the number of nengajou, New Year greetings cards, continued their six year slide in volume, due mainly, it seems, to the increased usage of electronic mail. The numbers were down 7.8% from last year, with about 2,052 million being sent this year. Even though this year is the Year of the Dog, and Japan is dog crazy, there was still that quite sizeable slide. Due to a death in the family this year, we didn’t send or receive any, except from people we forgot to notify with a mochuu hagaki or who forgot our notification.
Eight people in Tokyo were taken to hospital due to mochi-related incidents.
New Year’s television was 98.735% terrible. (I may have made this last stat up)