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.[1]

Country Musume's highest selling single is "Hajimete no Happy Birthday!" with 142,340 copies sold, while their lowest selling single is "Shining Itoshiki Anata" with 16,450 copies sold.

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.[2]


Main article: Country Girls Members

Yamaki Risa

Morito Chisaki

Ozeki Mai

Funaki Musubu

Oct. 14, 1997 (22)
YellowGreen Colorball Lime
Feb. 19, 2000 (20)
Orange Colorball Orange
Concurrent MM member
Feb. 10, 2002 (18)
MediumBlue Colorball Medium Blue
May 10, 2002 (18)
Yellow Colorball Yellow
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


One Summer Night CG

Country Girls, August 2019


Country Girls, March 2019


Country Girls, August 2018


Country Girls, July 2017


Country Girls, February 2017


Country Girls, September 2016


Country Girls, August 2016


Country Girls, March 2016


Country Girls, December 2015


Country Girls, August 2015


Country Girls, March 2015

CountryGirls Jan2015

Country Girls, January 2015


Country Musume, July 2007


Country Musume, August 2006

3rd Gen Country Musume

Country Musume ni Konno to Fujimoto (Morning Musume), August 2004


Country Musume ni Konno to Fujimoto (Morning Musume), July 2003


Country Musume ni Ishikawa Rika (Morning Musume), October 2001


Country Musume, 2000


Country Musume, 1999 & 2000

Countrymusume 1999

Country Musume, July 1999

1999: Formation as Country Musume

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.

On May 9, they held their first performance at Hanabatake Farm singing Morning Musume's Morning Coffee.

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, but 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

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. 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

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.


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.


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.


In 2004, Country Musume participated on the fifth edition of Hello! Project's Folk Songs series, FS5 Sotsugyou, which various Hello! Project artists sang covers of Japanese and Western folk songs.

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!~.


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~.[4] 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

In 2009, Satoda Mai graduated from Hello! Project alongside the Elder Club. After graduating, Satoda continued to be the only member of Country Musume under UP-FRONT PROMOTION.


On October 1, the group was transferred from UP-FRONT PROMOTION to UP-FRONT CREATE.

2014: Revival as Country Girls

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!.[1][5] Satoda Mai would be the group's general manager/supervisor.[1] 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.[1][5][6] The new unit would debut in the upcoming Hello! Project 2015 WINTER concert tour.[1][5]

With Country Girls rejoining Hello! Project, they were transferred back to UP-FRONT PROMOTION from UP-FRONT CREATE.

2015: 2nd Major Debut

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 2, Country Girls and ℃-ute performed at forTUNE fes vol.0.[7]

On April 5, the group's radio show Country Girls no Tadaima Radio Housouchuu!! began airing.

The group along with Kobushi Factory were the opening acts for the Juice=Juice First Live Tour 2015 ~Special Juice~.

On June 12, it was announced, due to contract disagreements between management and her family, Shimamura Uta had left the group.[8]

On June 24, Country Girls performed at the TV Tokyo Music Festival(2) along many other artists, including Morning Musume '15 and Morning Musume OG.[9]

On August 5, Country Girls released their 2nd single "Wakatteiru no ni Gomen ne / Tamerai Summer Time".

On November 5, during Country Girls' first anniversary event in Shinjuku, it was announced that Funaki Musubu and Yanagawa Nanami would join the group as new members.[10][11]

On December 2, Country Girls performed at the UPDATE girls LIVE, alongside idol groups Lyrical School and Tokyo Performance Doll.[12]


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.[13]

On February 18, Country Girls performed a joint live with Idol Renaissance for DOUBLE COLOR session11 at Shinjuku BLAZE.[14]

On February 28, Country Girls performed at the SKY PerfecTV! Ongakusai 2016.[15]

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.[16]

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.[17]

2017: Concurrency

On February 8, Country Girls released their 5th single and Tsugunaga Momoko's last, "Good Boy Bad Girl / Peanut Butter Jelly Love".

On March 12, Country Girls performed in the SKY PerfecTV! Ongakusai 2017.[18]

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.[19][20]

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.[21][22]

Tsugunaga Momoko graduated from both the group and Hello! Project during the Tsugunaga Momoko Last Live ♥Arigatou Otomomochi♥ concert at an outdoor venue in Odaiba on June 30.[23]

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"".


On August 24, Country Girls released two digital songs together, titled "Matenai After Five / Kasa wo Sasu Senpai".[24]

On November 2, Yanagawa Nanami announced that she would be graduating from the group in March 2019.[25]

2019: Hiatus

Country Girls pre-released their first mini album Seasons on January 2 at the Hello! Project 20th Anniversary!! Hello! Project 2019 WINTER concert tour,[26][27] 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.[28][29]

On August 24, Country Girls released two digital songs together, titled "One Summer Night ~Manatsu no Kesshin~ / Natsuiro no Palette".[30]

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.[2]

On December 4, before they suspend activities, Country Girls released one last compilation album, Country Girls Daizenshuu ①.[31]

On December 22, the group's radio show Country Girls no Tadaima Radio Housouchuu!! finished airing.

On December 26, the members graduated from the group at the end of the Country Girls Live 2019 ~Itooshikutte Gomen ne~, and the group activities were suspended.[32][33]


Main article: Country Girls Discography

Studio Albums
  1. [2001.12.12] Country Musume Daizenshuu ①
  2. [2006.08.23] Country Musume Daizenshuu ②
Mini Albums
  1. [2019.03.06] Seasons
Best Albums
  1. [2008.10.12] Country Musume Mega Best
  2. [2019.12.04] Country Girls Daizenshuu ①
Other Albums

As Country Musume
  1. [1999.07.23] Futari no Hokkaido (indies)
  2. [1999.11.30] Yukigeshiki (indies)
  3. [2000.04.27] Hokkaido Shalala (indies)
  4. [2000.07.31] Koi ga Suteki na Kisetsu (indies)
As Country Musume ni Ishikawa Rika (Morning Musume)
  1. [2001.04.18] Hajimete no Happy Birthday! (major debut)
  2. [2001.10.17] Koibito wa Kokoro no Ouendan
  3. [2002.04.17] Iroppoi Onna ~SEXY BABY~
  4. [2002.11.13] BYE BYE Saigo no Yoru
As Country Musume ni Konno to Fujimoto (Morning Musume)
  1. [2003.07.24] Uwaki na Honey Pie
  2. [2003.11.12] Senpai ~LOVE AGAIN~
  3. [2004.08.04] Shining Itoshiki Anata
As Satoda Mai (Country Musume)
As Country Girls
  1. [2015.03.25] Itooshikutte Gomen ne / Koi Dorobou (2nd major debut)
  2. [2015.08.05] Wakatteiru no ni Gomen ne / Tamerai Summer Time
  3. [2016.03.09] Boogie Woogie LOVE / Koi wa Magnet / Ranrarun ~Anata ni Muchuu~
  4. [2016.09.28] Dou Datte Ii no / Namida no Request
  5. [2017.02.08] Good Boy Bad Girl / Peanut Butter Jelly Love
Digital Singles
Soundtrack Singles
Collaboration Singles




TV Programs

Theater & Musicals

426px-Morning-town CoverEdokkoChuushingura-dvdKizetsusuru3



  • [1998-?] Country Musume no Potato na Jikan (FM JAGA) (カントリー娘。のポテトな時間 (FM JAGA)),
  • [1998-?] 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」)
  • [2006] Country Musume no Happy Night (Radio Nippon) (カントリー娘。のHappy Night (ラジオ日本))
  • [2006] 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))
  • [2015] 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!!)




  • [2015.09.19] Country Girls 2016 Calendar
  • [2016.09.24] Country Girls 2017 Calendar
  • [2017.10.05] Country Girls 2018 Calendar
  • [2018.09.11] Country Girls 2019 Takujou Calendar


Concert Photobooks

  • [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)

Other Books



  • Yanagihara Hiromi sang "Haru ~Spring~" by Hysteric Blue as her audition song in the second round.
  • Out of the active and former members of Country Musume / Country Girls, only Rinne, Asami, Satoda Mai, and Inaba Manaka were from the Hokkaido prefecture.
  • Country Musume / Country Girls was the only group to have been reduced to just one member on three separate occasions: the first was when Rinne became the only member from 1999 to 2000, the second was when Satoda Mai became the only member from 2007 to 2014, and the third was when Satoda Mai remained as the supervisor after all the Country Girls members graduated in December 2019.
    • The only other group to have been reduced to just one member is Coconuts Musume.
  • From March 31, 2009 to November 4, 2014, Country Musume was not an active part of Hello! Project. From November 5, 2014 to December 26, 2019, Country Girls (excluding Satoda Mai) were contracted to Hello! Project, but were not produced by Tsunku.
  • Azusa, Hiromi, Rinne, Asami, and Tsugunaga Momoko were the only members of Country Musume / County Girls to not have failed a Morning Musume audition.
  • Satoda Mai hoped that Country Girls would expand into the United States.[34]
  • Yamaki Risa and Inaba Manaka were the first Country Girls members to come from Hello Pro Kenshuusei.
  • Morito Chisaki, Shimamura Uta, and Ozeki Mai were the first members to be born after the group's formation.
  • During their time as Country Girls, the group had a sweets ban, where eating sweets three times would result in having to eat celery as punishment. The rule was repealed on a radio broadcast of Country Girls no Tadaima Radio Housouchuu!! the day before Yanagawa Nanami's graduation, with the thought that it was pointless to keep a rule that was not followed. After the broadcast, former playing manager Tsugunaga Momoko gifted a celery bouquet to the group after Yanagawa’s graduation concert, and the members carried out the celery punishment that same night with the exception of Yamaki Risa, who had already eaten celery on a trip with Ishida Ayumi to Sendai.[35][36]
  • From June 31, 2017 to December 26, 2019, they were the only group in Hello! Project to not have an official leader (excluding supervisor Satoda Mai). For interviews or press conferences with all the current group leaders, Yamaki Risa acted as Country Girls' representative as the oldest member.[37][38]

See Also

Total Sales Count

Year Group Sales Collaboration Sales Total Sales
1999-2008 451,232 N/A 451,232
2015 87,891 0 539,123
2016 69,933 0 609,056
2017-2019 5,528 0 614,587


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  3. While Satoda Mai is still a member, she will not be participating in any group activities.
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  11. "カントリー・ガールズ 新メンバー加入決定!" (in Japanese). Hello! Project. 2015-11-05.
  12. "UNBELIEVABLE LINEUP! Country Girls, Tokyo Performance Doll, lyrical School Gather in Shibuya!". Tokyo Girls' Update. 2015-11-30.
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  15. "スカパー!音楽祭2016" (in Japanese) SKY PerfecTV! Official Site. 2016-01-19.
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  23. "ももち、“らしさ”満点でアイドル引退 ももち結びも一夜限り復活" (in Japanese). ORICON NEWS. 2017-06-30.
  24. "アプカミ ミュージックデリバリー カントリー・ガールズ 配信曲紹介" (in Japanese). Upcoming (via YouTube). 2018-08-23.
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