Country Girls (カントリー・ガールズ), formerly known as Country Musume (カントリー娘。; Country Girls), was an all-female J-pop group within Hello! Project. The group, which debuted in 1999, was known for its concept of being a group of "country girls from Hokkaido". The group's activities lessened when Satoda became the sole member in 2007, and nearly ceased with the Elder Club's graduation from Hello! Project in 2009. On November 5, 2014, the group was revived with six new members.
Country Girls's highest selling single is "Itooshikutte Gomen ne / Koi Dorobou" with 51,579 copies sold, while their lowest selling single is "Dou Datte Ii no / Namida no Request" with 26,984 copies sold.
On December 26, 2019, the group suspended all activities. There is a possibility that the group will be revived with new members, but nothing has been decided as of yet.
- 1 Members
- 2 History
- 3 Discography
- 4 Publications
- 5 Works
- 6 Trivia
- 7 See Also
- 8 Total Sales Count
- 9 References
- 10 External Links
Members[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Country Girls Members
Oct. 14, 1997 (23)
Feb. 19, 2000 (20)
Concurrent MM member
Feb. 10, 2002 (18)
May 10, 2002 (18)
Concurrent AGM member
- Members Outside of Hello! Project
- Country Musume
- Azusa (あずさ) (Left: July 31, 1999; Leader 1999)
- Hiromi (ひろみ) (Deceased: July 16, 1999)
- Rinne (りんね) (Graduated: October 13, 2002; Leader 2000-2002)
- Asami (あさみ) (Graduated: January 28, 2007; Leader 2002-2007)
- Miuna (みうな) (Graduated: January 28, 2007)
- Country Girls
- Tsugunaga Momoko (嗣永桃子; Pink) (Graduated: June 30, 2017; Playing Manager 2014-2017)
- Inaba Manaka (稲場愛香; Italian Red) (Graduated: August 4, 2016)
- Shimamura Uta (島村嬉唄; Daisy) (Left: June 12, 2015)
- Yanagawa Nanami (梁川奈々美; Purple) (Graduated: March 11, 2019; Concurrent Juice=Juice member 2017-2019)
- Borrowed Members from Morning Musume
History[edit | edit source]
1999: Formation as Country Musume[edit | edit source]
Country Musume was created by Tanaka Yoshitake, a Japanese celebrity who is famous for his strong Aomori dialect and his love for farming. According to an interview, Tanaka had thought: “If Tsunku can produce Morning Musume, I will go head-to-head with my own version of an idol group, Country Musume.” Although the idea may seem a bit outrageous, it is a logical move for Tanaka, a nature and farming lover, to create an idol group who can live the principle of “half-farming, half-entertainment industry” by actually working and living at a farm.
Auditions started in March, and 1.230 candidates had signed up. The audition process was televised on "Idol wo Sagase", and nine finalists were selected. Out of those nine, three winners were chosen: Hiromi (from Chiba), Azusa (from Tokyo) and Rinne (from Hokkaido). The four-week-long audition cycle included not only voice and dance lessons, but a physical challenge: working on the Hanabatake farm in southern Hokkaido. The purpose of the physical challenge was to determine how responsible the girls were and how well they worked as a team to fit the image of country girls from Hokkaido, as the auditions were open to girls from all of Japan, not just Hokkaido.
While working at the farm, the girls were given charge of different aspects of farm life; Hiromi was put in charge of specifically cultivated agricultural products, Rinne of raising and training animals, and Azusa of dairy farming (milking cows and making cheese). Azusa, as the oldest member, was given the title as leader of the group.
After working on their first indie single, they were able to successfully record and complete the single and a promotional video. However, tragedy struck the group soon after their work seemed to be finished. On July 16th, 1999, Hiromi died in an automobile accident, just days before their first single was set for release. Her family was given the decision to whether Country Musume should continue their work and release their single as scheduled, and they approved.
The girls made their indies debut (as planned), and on July 23rd they released their single, only for sale in the Hokkaido region. The plans for Country Musume was to continue as a duo.
At an event tour taking place in Kaminokuni, Hokkaido and Tokyo in the month following the single release, Azusa was undergoing medical treatment and was absent, so Rinne stood alone on stage. She was supported by Morning Musume on the back chorus. 
Just a month after the release of their debut single, Azusa decided to leave the group due to psychological stress.
After a two-month hiatus, Rinne started performing as a solo act using the Country Musume name. She released the indie single Yukigeshiki, also considered an indies release only sold in the Hokkaido region. Rinne said about this single: "'Yukigeshiki' gave me extra energy I needed to continue this career.I was able to take a break, to step aside and look back, and thought I was glad to make all these efforts."
2000: Ishikawa Rika joins[edit | edit source]
Six months later, in April, Rinne released Country Musume’s third indie single, Hokkaido Shalala, her second single as the sole member of the group. This was also only sold in the Hokkaido region. Subsequent Auditions for additional members started in March of 2000 (a month before the release of "Hokkaido Sha La La"), but this audition was unsuccessful as no one passed the audition. The third audition was held in May, and Asami was the only one to pass. She was an employee at Hanabatake Bokujo (the farm Rinne lived and worked at, which was owned and operated by the group’s producer), and was recommended by others to take part in the audition. She also impressed Rinne during a dog race competition.
In May, Asami was added to the group, Rinne became the leader and the duo released one more indie single. It was featured as part of the soundtrack for the movie "Country Girl Hokkaido Bokujo Monogatari" starring Country Musume and T&C Bomber.
A fourth audition was held in August, but no one passed this audition either.
On August 29, Country Musume participated in the Yunotsu LOVE² Oosawagi Hello! Project 2000 event.
The fifth audition, held in December, was also unsuccessful.
By the end of the year, producer Tanaka decided to give Tsunku the producer’s position of the group, due to his difficulty in finding more members to join Rinne and Asami. According to Tsunku, he thought it would be a great experience for the girls (in Morning Musume) to have more exposures in different units, so he accepted the offer with pleasure. He decided to choose from the newer members, and his choice fell instinctively (according to himself) on Ishikawa Rika. He also changed the name of the group to Country Musume ni Ishikawa Rika (Morning Musume).
2001: Major Debut[edit | edit source]
Their popularity rose when Morning Musume's Ishikawa Rika, who is from Kanagawa, was lent into the group in April. Country Musume had their major debut in Japan with the release of "Hajimete no Happy Birthday!". The trio released two more singles and an album.
A sixth audition was held in the fall of 2001, and one girl passed the audition: Satoda Mai (who had also auditioned for the 4th and 5th generation auditions for Morning Musume). All of these auditions were aired on Idol wo Sagase and Hello! Morning.
In December, Country Musume released their first album, Country Musume Daizenshuu ①.
2002[edit | edit source]
The quartet released one single before Rinne, the only remaining original member, bid farewell on October 13th to pursue a career within UP-FRONT AGENCY as a stage actress, leaving Asami to become the new leader of the group. Afterwards, Asami, Ishikawa Rika, and Satoda Mai released one more single.
2003[edit | edit source]
On April 27, Country Musume had a major shift in its roster. Miuna, who is from Shizuoka, was recruited into the group. The group featured Morning Musume members and Hokkaido natives Konno Asami and Fujimoto Miki, replacing Ishikawa Rika. Under this new formation, named Country Musume ni Konno to Fujimoto (Morning Musume), the quintet released three singles.
2004-2005[edit | edit source]
In 2005, Country Musume performed in the Hello! Project 2005 Winter ~A HAPPY NEW POWER!~ concert tour as a part of Hello! Project Akagumi. Country Musume also toured with v-u-den and Inaba Atsuko. That same year, Konno Asami and Fujimoto Miki concluded activities with the group after the Morning Musume Concert Tour 2005 Haru ~Dai 6kan Hit Mankai!~.
2006-2007[edit | edit source]
On November 25th, 2006, it was announced that Asami and Miuna would be graduating from Country Musume and Hello! Project together on January 28, 2007, at the final performance of Hello! Project 2007 Winter ~Shuuketsu! 10th Anniversary~. Since Konno and Fujimoto had also graduated from Morning Musume, they were no longer “loaned” to Country Musume. Thus, Satoda Mai became the only member, and continued to work under the Country Musume name. This was the second time that Country Musume consisted of only one member.
2009: Graduation[edit | edit source]
2013[edit | edit source]
2014: Revival as Country Girls[edit | edit source]
On January 2, Tsunku revealed that he was considering restarting Country Musume.
On February 11, through a VTR message, Satoda Mai announced the Country Musume Shin Member Audition during the Hello! Project 2014 WINTER tour. However, Satoda would not participate in the group's activities for the possible new line-up, as she then resided outside of Japan.
On August 7, it was announced that the auditions had ended and no new members were chosen.
On November 5, it was announced that Country Musume was renamed Country Girls and 5 new girls were added: Inaba Manaka and Yamaki Risa from Hello Pro Kenshuusei and Morito Chisaki, Shimamura Uta and Ozeki Mai from the Morning Musume '14 (Golden) Audition!. Satoda Mai would be the group's general manager/supervisor. Tsugunaga Momoko would also become a member of the group as the playing manager after her group Berryz Koubou would go on indefinite hiatus in early 2015. The new unit would debut in the upcoming Hello! Project 2015 WINTER concert tour.
2015: 2nd Major Debut[edit | edit source]
On March 15, the group's radio show Country Girls no Tadaima Radio Kenshuuchuu!! began airing without Tsugunaga Momoko. The show ended two weeks later, and would be replaced with a new show including Tsugunaga Momoko.
On March 25, Country Girls released their major debut single since re-joining Hello! Project, "Itooshikutte Gomen ne / Koi Dorobou". It debuted in 4th place on Oricon's daily chart rankings and 3rd in the weekly chart rankings.
On April 5, the group's radio show Country Girls no Tadaima Radio Housouchuu!! began airing.
On August 5, Country Girls released their 2nd single "Wakatteiru no ni Gomen ne / Tamerai Summer Time".
On December 2, Country Girls performed at the UPDATE girls LIVE, alongside idol groups Lyrical School and Tokyo Performance Doll.
2016[edit | edit source]
On February 9, during the 67th Sapporo Snow Festival, Country Girls performed a special live titled Country Girls Boogie Woogie LIVE. It took place in Odori Park in front of the HTB Snow Square.
On February 18, Country Girls performed a joint live with Idol Renaissance for DOUBLE COLOR session11 at Shinjuku BLAZE.
On February 28, Country Girls performed at the SKY PerfecTV! Ongakusai 2016.
On March 9, Country Girls released their 3rd single "Boogie Woogie LOVE / Koi wa Magnet / Ranrarun ~Anata ni Muchuu~". It is Yanagawa Nanami and Funaki Musubu's debut single.
On April 28, it was announced that Inaba Manaka would be taking a break from Country Girls' activities due to asthma after consulting with her doctors. It was initially stated that she would be returning to Country Girls when she recovered from her illness, but on August 4 she graduated from the group.
On September 28, Country Girls released their 4th single "Dou Datte Ii no / Namida no Request".
During the Country Girls Live Tour 2016 Fuyu day concert at Shinjuku ReNY on November 5 and Country Girls' second anniversary, Tsugunaga Momoko announced that she would be graduating from Country Girls and Hello! Project as well as retiring from the entertainment industry on June 30, 2017 to work in education.
2017: Concurrency[edit | edit source]
On March 12, Country Girls performed in the SKY PerfecTV! Ongakusai 2017.
On June 9, it was announced that Country Girls would be switching over to a new system after Tsugunaga's graduation. Morito Chisaki, Yanagawa Nanami, and Funaki Musubu would simultaneously join another Hello! Project group for their main activities, while Yamaki Risa and Ozeki Mai focused on their studies. Country Girls would mainly perform on school breaks and holidays due to the change. In addition to this, most of their singles from this point would be released in a digital format. Country Girls would continue to perform as a six-member line-up at the Tsugunaga Momoko Last Live ♥Arigatou Otomomochi♥, and as a five-member line-up throughout the Hello! Project 2017 SUMMER tour.
On June 26, through a special episode of Hello! Project Station, it was announced that Morito had joined Morning Musume '17, Yanagawa had joined Juice=Juice, and Funaki had joined ANGERME; all as concurrent members.
On August 11, they released the digital song "Konamaiki Girl".
On December 24, they released the digital single "Kaite wa Keshite no "I Love You"".
2018[edit | edit source]
2019: Hiatus[edit | edit source]
Country Girls pre-released their first mini album Seasons on January 2 at the Hello! Project 20th Anniversary!! Hello! Project 2019 WINTER concert tour, and it was released for general sale on March 6.
On March 11, Yanagawa Nanami graduated from Hello! Project in the Juice=Juice & Country Girls LIVE ~Yanagawa Nanami Sotsugyou Special~ at Zepp Tokyo.
On August 24, Country Girls released two digital songs together, titled "One Summer Night ~Manatsu no Kesshin~ / Natsuiro no Palette".
On October 18, it was announced that all of the current members will graduate from Country Girls, and the group will subsequently suspend all activities on December 26, 2019 after their Country Girls Live 2019 ~Itooshikutte Gomen ne~ at LINE CUBE SHIBUYA. The members had conversations with the office throughout the year about the future of the group, and this decision to suspend activities naturally came after the members decided on what they wanted to do next. Yamaki Risa will retire from the entertainment industry in favor of getting a job. Ozeki Mai plans on applying to university and continuing activities in show-business. Funaki Musubu will graduate from ANGERME and Hello! Project in March 2020 to study dancing. Morito Chisaki plans on continuing activities in Morning Musume.
On December 22, the group's radio show Country Girls no Tadaima Radio Housouchuu!! finished airing.
Discography[edit | edit source]
- See also: Country Girls Discography
- Studio Albums
- Mini Albums
- [2019.03.06] Seasons
- Best Albums
- Other Albums
- [2003.03.05] "Ken & Mary no Merikenko On Stage!" Original Cast Ban
- [2017.06.21] Tsugunaga Momoko Idol 15 Shuunen Kinen Album ♡Arigatou Otomomochi♡ (all disc 2 tracks, disc 3 #12 Peanut Butter Jelly Love)
- As Country Musume
- [1999.07.23] Futari no Hokkaido (indies)
- [1999.11.30] Yukigeshiki (indies)
- [2000.04.27] Hokkaido Shalala (indies)
- [2000.07.31] Koi ga Suteki na Kisetsu (indies)
- As Country Musume ni Ishikawa Rika (Morning Musume)
- [2001.04.18] Hajimete no Happy Birthday! (major debut)
- [2001.10.17] Koibito wa Kokoro no Ouendan
- [2002.04.17] Iroppoi Onna ~SEXY BABY~
- [2002.11.13] BYE BYE Saigo no Yoru
- As Country Musume ni Konno to Fujimoto (Morning Musume)
- [2003.07.24] Uwaki na Honey Pie
- [2003.11.12] Senpai ~LOVE AGAIN~
- [2004.08.04] Shining Itoshiki Anata
- As Satoda Mai (Country Musume)
- [2007.03.23] Oyaji no Kokoro ni Tomotta Chiisa na Hi ~Duet Version~
- [2010.10.27] Zoku - Oyaji no Kokoro ni Tomotta Chiisa na Hi
- As Country Girls
- [2015.03.25] Itooshikutte Gomen ne / Koi Dorobou (2nd major debut)
- [2015.08.05] Wakatteiru no ni Gomen ne / Tamerai Summer Time
- [2016.03.09] Boogie Woogie LOVE / Koi wa Magnet / Ranrarun ~Anata ni Muchuu~
- [2016.09.28] Dou Datte Ii no / Namida no Request
- [2017.02.08] Good Boy Bad Girl / Peanut Butter Jelly Love
- Digital Singles
- [2017.12.24] Kaite wa Keshite no "I Love You"
- Soundtrack Singles
- Collaboration Singles
- [2000.04.19] Garage Opening Theme Song Shuu Vol. 4 (ガレージ・オープニングソング集 Vol. 4)
- [2018.09.26] YEAH YEAH YEAH / Akogare no Stress-free / Hana, Takenawa no Toki (Hello Pro All Stars)
- Digital Songs
- [2017.08.11] Konamaiki Girl
- [2018.08.24] Matenai After Five / Kasa wo Sasu Senpai
- [2019.08.24] One Summer Night ~Manatsu no Kesshin~ / Natsuiro no Palette
- [2001.12.19] Petit Best 2 ~3・7・10~ (#14 Hajimete no Happy Birthday! (country version))
- [2002.02] Girls Zappy Otoshidama CD 2002-Nen (#4 Country Musume no Hanabatake Farm Talk)
- [2002.12.18] Petit Best 3 (#13 Atarashii Koi no Hatsu Date)
- [2003.12.17] Petit Best 4 (#9 Uwaki na Honey Pie)
- [2004.12.22] Petit Best 5 (#8 Shining Itoshiki Anata)
- [2006.12.20] Petit Best 7 (#8 Kakumeichikku KISS)
- [2015.12.16] Petit Best 16 (#11 Koi Dorobou, #12 Wakatteiru no ni Gomen ne)
- [2016.12.14] Petit Best 17 (#5 Boogie Woogie Love, #13 Kizetsu Suru Hodo Aishiteru!, #16 Kiss Yori Saki ni Dekiru Koto ('15 5nin Ver.))
- [2017.12.13] Petit Best 18 (#6 Peanut Butter Jelly Love)
- [2018.12.12] Petit Best 19 (#9 Kaite wa Keshite no "I Love You", #10 Matenai After Five)
- Video Collections
- Fanclub DVDs
-  Hello! Days Vol. 2
-  Hello! Days Vol. 7
- [2007.02.10] Country Musume LIVE2006 ~Shibuya des Date~
- [2015.10.xx] SATOYAMA Taiken Tour Dai 3 Dan! Country Girls to Sugosu 1paku 2ka Bus Tour in Ashikaga
- [2017.02.11] SATOYAMA Taiken Tour Dai 4 Dan! Country Girls to Sugosu 1paku 2ka Bus Tour in Isumi
- [2017.03.xx] Country Girls FC Event 2016 ~Christmas♡Girls~
- [2019.06.26] Country Girls Fanclub Tour in Shizuoka "Ichi Fuji Ni Taka San Country!"
- [2019.10.xx] Country Girls FC Event 2019 ~Natsu no Dai Shikakkei~
Publications[edit | edit source]
- See also: Country Girls Publications
- [2004.03.20] Minimoni & Country Musume ni Konno & Fujimoto (Morning Musume) in Hello Project 2004 Winter (ミニモニ。&カントリー娘。に紺野と藤本（モーニング娘。） in Hello! Project 2004 Winter) (with Minimoni)
- [2005.10.11] AYA MATSUURA & COUNTRY MUSUME. - Hello! Project 2005 Natsu no Kayou Show '05 Selection! Collection! (AYA MATSUURA & COUNTRY MUSUME。―Hello!Project2005夏の歌謡ショー 05’セレクション!コレクション!) (with Matsuura Aya)
Works[edit | edit source]
- [2005.03-2005.07] Dai 1-kai & dai 17-kai Hello! Project Video Chat (Hello! Project on FLETS) (第1回・第17回ハロプロビデオチャット (2005年3月11日・7月14日、ハロー!プロジェクト on フレッツ))
-  Hello Pro Hour
- [2015–2019] Hello! Project Station
- [2015–2016] MUSIC+
- [2015–2016] GREEN ROOM
- [2016–2019] Upcoming
- [2016–2017] Girls Night Out
- [2017–2019] tiny tiny
- [2018–2019] OMAKE CHANNEL
-  Hello Pro no Oshigoto Challenge
-  Hello Pro Kouhaku Taiko THE☆BATTLE 2019
- [2019-2020] Hello Pro ONE×ONE
- [1999-?] Country Musume no Potato na Jikan (FM JAGA) (カントリー娘。のポテトな時間 (FM JAGA)),
- [1999-?] Country Musume no Bokujou Dayori (STV Radio) (カントリー娘。の牧場だより (STVラジオ)), part of Sunday Paradise Mu (STVラジオ) (サンデーパラダイスmu (STVラジオ))
- [2003-2004] Country Musume no Nanmara Psycho Dabe. (カントリー娘。のなんまらサイコーだべ。), part of JFN "Shindoru" (JFN「しんドル」)
- [2004-2005] stardigio ch.400 "BLEND KISS", inside corner "Nekketsu! Country Gakuen" (「熱血!カントリー学園」)
-  Country Musume no Happy Night (Radio Nippon) (カントリー娘。のHappy Night (ラジオ日本))
-  TBC FUN Fiirudo Moretsumoodashuu (Touhoku Housou) (TBC FUNふぃーるど・モーレツモーダッシュ (東北放送))
- [2006-2012] Sanchi Chokusou! Country Musume (STV Radio) (産地直送!カントリー娘。 (STVラジオ))
-  Country Girls no Tadaima Radio Kenshuuchuu!! (カントリー・ガールズの只今ラジオ研修中‼)
- [2015–2019] Country Girls no Tadaima Radio Housouchuu!! (カントリー・ガールズの只今ラジオ放送中!!)
Trivia[edit | edit source]
See Also[edit | edit source]
- Country Girls Members
- Country Girls Discography
- Country Girls Concerts & Events
- Country Girls Publications
- Gallery:Country Girls
- Gallery:Country Girls Music Videos
- Country Girls Auditions
Total Sales Count[edit | edit source]
|Year||Group Sales||Collaboration Sales||Total Sales|
References[edit | edit source]
External Links[edit | edit source]
- Country Girls Official Profile (archived)
- Country Girls Official YouTube Channel
- Country Girls Official Blog
- Social Media Pages: Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram
- Wikipedia: English, Japanese (Country Musume, Country Girls), German, French, Korean, Malay, Dutch (Country Musume ni Konno to Fujimoto), Romanian, Chinese
|Hello! Project Shuffle Unit|