New Year’s Wardrobe Malfunction

Japan’s big New Year’s show, "Kohaku Utagassen" (Red & White Singing Contest), which is shown on TV, was marred this year by a scandal that might remind Americans of a certain clothing malfunction from a few Super Bowls ago.

The normally immaculately inoffensive music show, where the country’s biggest singing stars perform their latest hits, featured a song by first-time singer DJ Ozma that included a chorus line of young women wearing feathered headdresses. They were also wearing bodysuits, but more than few home viewers complained that the women looked topless.

About 750 viewers called the network immediately to lodge complaints. Even before the show ended, an announcer came out to apologize "for any misunderstanding." The network promised an investigation.

On the other hand, the performance by tenor Masafumi Akikawa drew nothing but praise. The response was so good in fact that the song reentered Oricon’s top singles chart and in the week ending January 15 it had risen to No. 1. It was the first time a single by a nominally classical artist had ever reached the top slot.

The song, "A Thousand Winds," was originally recorded for Akikawa’s last album, which was released in September 2005.

It was released as a single last June and never rose higher than 168, but right after the New Year’s Eve appearance it jumped up to 73.

The song is a Japanese translation of "Do Not Stand At My Grave and Weep," a poem credited to the American Mary Elizabeth Frye that was often read

at funerals of victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.