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Japan New Year TV Specials 2021 and 2022


2022 is coming real soon, so how are you celebrating the new year? Spending time with your friends or family? Chilling at home and watching some good ole television shows? If you’re looking for entertaining Japanese new year TV shows, you’ve come to the right place. Japan offers an array of TV shows such as comedy shows that are only streamed during the new year celebration. We have gathered a list of TV shows that will help you smile and get some laughs this year.

Television – テレビ (terebi)

TV show – テレビ番組 (terebi bangumi)

New Year – お正月 (oshogatsu)

TV show list – テレビ番組表 (terebi bangumihyou)

10 Japan New Year TV Specials 2021/2022

Table of Contents

1. Kōhaku Uta Gassen 紅白歌合戦 (NHK)

Kōhaku Uta Gassen is a Japanese New Year TV show that is produced by NHK. The show invites many famous singers and music groups to perform. Two teams are divided where female performers are on the red team and male performers are on the white team. Towards the end of the show, votes are gathered from a set of judges as well as the audience and the winning team is announced. Last year, in 2020, the red team won.

  • Time: December 31, 2021 from 19:30 to 11:45
  • Performers: YOASOBI, LiSA, DISH//, King & Prince and more

2. Hakone Ekiden 箱根駅伝 (Nippon Television)

Hakone Ekiden race is a New Year’s annual marathon where university athletes run from Tokyo to Hakone and back. This year marks its 98th anniversary; almost to 100! If you’re interested in watching something related to athletics, this show may be entertaining for you. To watch this, switch to the Nippon Television channel if you have it.

  • Time: January 2 & 3, 2022 at 8:00

3. Zettaini Warattehaikenai 絶対に笑ってはいけない (Nippon Television)

Japan’s famous comedy duo, Downtown, hosts an annual Japanese New Year TV show called Zettaini Warattehaikenai (which means “don’t laugh” in Japanese) that features Downtown and three other comedians. It’s a 24-hour special that involves five comedians participating in a variety of activities. The one main thing they cannot do throughout the show is to laugh. If they laugh, their butt will get smacked. Hard. No limits. If you’re in for many laughs, chuckles and smiles this year, you may like this show.

  • Time: December 31, 2021, at 6:30
glenn-carstens-peters photo
Photo by Glenn Carstens Peters

4. Old Year, New Year 行く年来る年 (NHK)

Old Year, New Year is a New Year’s Japanese TV special that broadcasts many types of celebrations around the country of Japan. It’s all streamed live so you can immerse yourself in the culture and see how Japan parties. It’s a 30-minute special that hypes up the countdown and welcomes in the new year so it’s not a show you want to miss.

  • Time: From December 31, 2021, at 23:45 to January 1, 2022, at 0:15

5. Geinoujin Kakuzuke Check 芸能人格付けチェック (ABC Television)

ABC Television presents a New Year’s quiz show called Geinoujin Kakuzuke Check which translates to celebrity rating check. This variety show invites a group of celebrities to guess which of the two compared items is more expensive. If a celebrity guesses correctly, their rank goes up. If they guess wrong, their rank goes down. See which celebrity will be number one!

  • Time: January 1, 2022 from 17:00 to 21:00

6. New Year Ekiden ニューイヤー駅伝 (TBS Television)

New Year Ekiden is an annual marathon where men athletes run for 100 kilometers in Gunma Prefecture. This New Year’s special will be entertaining to those who are interested in watching athletic events. 

  • Time: January 1, 2022, at 8:30
Photo by Damir Mijailovic
Photo by Damir Mijailovic

7. Aibou Gantan Special 相棒元旦スペシャル (TV Asahi)

Aibou Gantan Special is a well-known murder mystery Japanese TV show that is broadcasting its episodes from its 20th season. If you’re not into the “regular” shows during New Year’s celebrations, this show may entertain you.

  • Time: January 1, 2022, at 21:30

8. Shoten no Oshogatsu Tokuban 笑点のお正月特番 (Nippon Television)

If you’re looking for old-fashioned laughs, Shoten no Oshogatsu Tokuban may be the Japanese New Year’s TV show for you. This TV show is a comedy talk show and invites a group of well-known celebrities to perform their acts.

  • Time: January 1, 2022, at 15:00

9. Japan Record Awards 日本レコード大賞 (TBS Television)

Every year before the new year arrives, TBS Television presents Japan Record Awards. This Japanese TV show features and awards highly talented and recognized musicians and singing groups in Japan and has been doing this since 1959. Last year’s winners include LiSA, Da Pump, Daichi Miura and Nizi U. 

  • Time: December 30, 2021, at 17:30

10. Gurunai Omoshirosou ぐるナイ・おもしろ荘 (Nippon Television)

Gurunai Omoshirosou is another Japanese TV comedy show to ring in the new year. The show invites well-known and new comedians to show us what they got. Who will make you laugh the most? Find out by watching the show.

  • Time: December 31, 2021, at 12:30

So which Japanese New Year’s TV will it be?

We hope that you will be entertained this New Year’s holiday. There are a variety of shows to choose from and, of course, there are more shows that we didn’t mention in this blog. Have you watched any of the Japanese New Year TV shows we mentioned above? Which one will you end up watching? Feel free to let us know!

Related articles: 

Winter Illumination: 10 Free Hot Spots to see in Tokyo 2021

10 Fun Family 2021 Winter Activities in Tokyo

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