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December 31, 2018 - Ishida Ayumi becomes a Morning Musume sub-leader and Fukumura Mizuki to be the next Hello! Project leader
On December 31, Hello! Project held the Hello! Project 20th Anniversary!! Hello! Project COUNTDOWN PARTY 2018 ~GOOD BYE & HELLO!~, their annual New Year's Eve concert at Nakano Sun Plaza.
During the first part of concert, it was announced that Morning Musume '18 member Ishida Ayumi has been appointed as a new sub-leader of the group, alongside Ikuta Erina who has been a sub-leader since 2014.
Morning Musume '18's leader Fukumura Mizuki, who is also the current sub-leader of Hello! Project, will succeed Wada Ayaka as the leader of Hello! Project when Wada graduates at the end of ANGERME's spring 2019 tour.
In addition to the leader announcements, it was announced earlier in the concert that Kobushi Factory will hold their first one-man hall concert tour in May 2019.
Source: Hirose Ayaka Official Blog Entry, Kaga Kaede Official Blog Entry

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December 21, 2018 - Miyazaki Yuka to graduate from Juice=Juice and Hello! Project
On December 21, Juice=Juice leader Miyazaki Yuka announced on Hello! Project Station that she has decided to graduate from the group and Hello! Project at the end of Juice=Juice's spring 2019 tour.
Miyazaki entered the entertainment industry after she won the Promotional Award in the Dai 2kai Forest Award NEW FACE Audition held by UP-FRONT AGENCY in 2012 and was placed in the SATOYAMA movement unit GREEN FIELDS in October that year. She eventually joined Hello! Project in February 2013, when Tsunku decided to add her to the new group Juice=Juice alongside five Hello Pro Kenshuusei members, and she was later named the leader.
After graduating, she will continue her entertainment career in which she plans to challenge various kinds of work.
Source: Hello! Project Station, Hello! Project

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December 19, 2018 - Nakanishi Kana diagnosed with enthetitis in her left Achilles tendon
On December 19, it was reported that ANGERME 2nd generation member Nakanishi Kana had complained about foot pain in the middle of November which the doctor had been examining overtime, but due to the lack of recovery and her foot hurting when she walked, a thorough examination was done and resulted in the diagnosis of enthetitis in her left Achilles tendon.
Nakanishi requires at least four to six weeks of treatment, limiting her participation in upcoming lives and events. She will participate while sitting for the ANGERME FC Event 2018 ~Dotabata Christmas~ on December 24; be absent from the rockin'on presents COUNTDOWN JAPAN 18/19 on December 29; and will only participate in the MCs of the Hello! Project 20th Anniversary!! Hello! Project COUNTDOWN PARTY 2018 ~GOOD BYE & HELLO!~ on December 31, and the Hello! Project 20th Anniversary!! Hello! Project 2019 WINTER concert tour from at least January 2 to January 13.
An update on her progress and participation in further activities will be delivered after mid-January.
Source: Hello! Project, Nakanishi Kana Official Blog Entry

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December 16, 2018 - Iikubo Haruna graduates from Morning Musume '18 and Hello! Project
On December 16, the Morning Musume '18 Concert Tour Aki ~GET SET, GO!~ Final Iikubo Haruna Sotsugyou Special was held at Nippon Budokan, where 10th generation member Iikubo Haruna graduated from Morning Musume '18 and Hello! Project.
Iikubo joined Morning Musume on September 29, 2011 after winning the Morning Musume 10ki Member "Genki Jirushi" Audition, and she was appointed as a sub-leader on May 21, 2013, eventually becoming the longest-serving sub-leader in the history of the group at 5 years, 2 months and 17 days.
She announced her graduation on August 17 with the desire to challenge new things. During the concert held a day before her graduation, Iikubo revealed Ni-na, a virtual idol she will begin producing and voicing. She also aims for various kinds of work in entertainment such as dramas, variety, and modeling.
Source: ORICON NEWS, MANTENWEB

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December 13, 2018 - Nonaka Miki announces a short halt from activities to study English abroad
On December 13, it was announced that Morning Musume '18 12th generation member Nonaka Miki will be halting idol activities until mid-February 2019 to study abroad as a short term student to improve her English skills.
She will therefore be absent from the Hello! Project 20th Anniversary!! Hello! Project COUNTDOWN PARTY 2018 ~GOOD BYE & HELLO!~, for the majority of Hello! Project 20th Anniversary!! Hello! Project 2019 WINTER concert tour and from several "Furari Ginza / Jiyuu na Kuni Dakara" single release events.
Source: Hello! Project

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December 7, 2018 - Sayashi Riho graduates from Hello! Project
On December 7, it was announced that solo talent Sayashi Riho, who has been on hiatus since she graduated from Morning Musume at the end of 2015, decided to graduate from Hello! Project at the end of November when her exclusive management contract with UP-FRONT PROMOTION ended.
Sayashi said she has had a lot of wonderful experiences since she joined Morning Musume at 12 years old. As such, she wants to see more of the world and even studied language and dance overseas, mainly in New York, after she graduated from Morning Musume.
At the moment, she still wants to absorb many more things and looks forward to seeing everyone again once she has become a "new me". She thanked fans for continuing to support her for the past three years since she graduated from Morning Musume, and asks them to kindly watch over her as she continues to fulfill her dreams of dancing, singing, and acting.
Source: Hello! Project

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December 3, 2018 - Hello! Project "ONLY YOU" Audition winners announced
Back on October 19, when the two new group names were revealed as CHICA#TETSU and Ame no Mori Kawa Umi, it was announced that they would form the combined group BEYOOOOONDS. Also, instead of joining either of the two groups, the winners of the Hello! Project "ONLY YOU" Audition would form a third new group as a part of BEYOOOOONDS.
The audition winners were finally announced on December 3 at the BEYOOOOONDS Ouen Kikaku FC Event 2018 ~Fuyu no Jin ZIN~ held at Yamano Hall. The three members joining BEYOOOOONDS are Hirai Miyo, Kobayashi Honoka, and Satoyoshi Utano. Their group name has not yet been decided, but BEYOOOOONDS will begin activities as 12 members in the Hello! Project 20th Anniversary!! Hello! Project 2019 WINTER concert tour.
Source: Hello! Project, Dwango.jp news

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November 23, 2018 - Two members join ANGERME
On November 19, it was first announced on The Girls Live that one or more members would be joining ANGERME and they would be revealed during the ANGERME 2018 Aki "Denkousekka" concert on November 23 at Pacifico Yokohama.
During the first MC of the concert, Ise Reira who was selected from the Hello! Project "ONLY YOU" Audition and Ota Haruka from Hello Pro Kenshuusei Hokkaido were revealed as the two new members.
They will start performing with group after the new year in the Hello! Project 20th Anniversary!! Hello! Project 2019 WINTER concert tour.
Source: Hello! Project, natalie, The Television

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November 3, 2018 - Mitsui Aika retires from entertainment
On November 3, Mitsui Aika announced that she has decided to graduate from Hello! Project and retire from the entertainment industry.
In 2006, Mitsui became an 8th generation member of Morning Musume after winning the Morning Musume Happy 8ki Audition. Her time in the group started to come to an end in May 2011, when she was first diagnosed with a stress fracture of the left talus (part of the ankle joint) which took her away from performing on stage. She worked hard towards recovery, hoping she would be able to perform like she did before, and was happy when she became able to walk without support.
During a medical examination in April 2012, Mitsui was told that she would re-injure herself due to her bones being inherently weak and Morning Musume's choreography becoming more intense. Not wanting to hold the group back, she decided to graduate alongside Niigaki Risa on May 18, 2012. She stayed within Hello! Project as a solo act, but aside from participating in the SATOYAMA movement unit GREEN FIELDS, Mitsui never released any solo music.
Around the time of her graduation from Morning Musume, Mitsui became interested in learning English and she decided to study abroad in New Zealand at the end of 2013. When she returned to Japan in April 2015, her TOEIC score was 760 points. While in Japan, she began working in English by communicating with international fans through UP-FRONT LINK and adding English lyrics to music videos. However, after visiting Houston with Morning Musume '16 in February 2016, she decided to continue learning English abroad.
Mitsui has been back in New Zealand since June 2016. She began growing a passion for cooking after making meals with her host grandmother everyday and entered vocational school to learn it professionally. She has started working in a kitchen and will apply for a temporary work visa after she graduates from vocational school later in November.
Source: J.P ROOM, Mitsui Aika Official Blog Entry

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November 2, 2018 - Yanagawa Nanami to graduate from Juice=Juice, Country Girls, and Hello! Project
On November 2, it was announced that concurrent Juice=Juice and Country Girls member Yanagawa Nanami has decided to graduate from both groups and Hello! Project in March 2019.
Yanagawa first joined Hello! Project in April 2015 as a Hello Pro Kenshuusei member after failing the Morning Musume '14 <Golden> Audition!, and she debuted in Country Girls in November of the same year. When it was decided in June 2017 that a new concurrent member system would be introduced to Country Girls and the group's activities would become limited, Yanagawa joined Juice=Juice for her main activities.
Yanagawa, who will be entering her last year of high school in the spring, has decided to graduate from her idol career to pursue a higher education. She found a new dream and, after thinking it over, wants to firmly study towards that field.
Source: Hello! Project, Yanagawa Nanami Juice=Juice Official Blog Entry

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November 1, 2018 - Noguchi Kurumi, Hibi Marina, and Doi Rena leave Hello Pro Kenshuusei and three new members join
On November 1, when the list of members participating in the Hello! Project Kenshuusei Happyoukai 2018 12gatsu ~Mikan~ was revealed, it was announced that Hello Pro Kenshuusei members Noguchi Kurumi, Hibi Marina, and Doi Rena had completed their training. Noguchi had joined Hello Pro Kenshuusei in January 2016 while Hibi and Doi both joined in March 2017.
However, three new members have joined as the 29th generation: Saito Madoka, Kusunoki Mei, and Onoda Karin. They will be introduced in the recital which will begin on December 2.
Source: Hello! Project (Recital Page), Hello! Project (New Members Announcement), UP-FC

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October 19, 2018 - New group names and a combined group announced
On October 19, the names of the two new Hello! Project groups were finally revealed.
The Ichioka Reina led group with Shimakura Rika, Nishida Shiori, and Eguchi Saya has been named CHICA#TETSU. Chica is a Spanish word for "girl" and tetsu (哲) means "philosophy". The two words were brought together to create a name that means "girls who think deeply of things". With this name, the group hopes to express the delicate feelings hidden deep in their hearts through performance.
The group with Takase Kurumi, Maeda Kokoro, Yamazaki Yuhane, Okamura Minami, and Kiyono Momohime has been named Ame no Mori Kawa Umi, which is abbreviated as RFRO (Ame = Rain, Mori = Forest, Kawa = River, Umi = Ocean). The name represents sources of life such as nature, and each group member has a part of their name with a meaning related to nature. It was chosen in hopes of the girls becoming a group that enriches people's hearts. Takase Kurumi was also chosen as the group's leader.
Furthermore, it was announced that the Hello! Project "ONLY YOU" Audition winners would instead form a third new group, and all three would be part of a combined group named BEYOOOOONDS. The audition has currently entered the final selection, and the winners will be announced at a later date.
Source: Hello! Project, Hello! Project Station

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October 3, 2018 - Yamaki Risa joins College Cosmos
On October 3, it was announced that Country Girls member Yamaki Risa has joined College Cosmos, an idol group consisting of girls currently attending university which was created as a joint project between Space Craft Group and and UP-FRONT GROUP.
In 2017, when the concurrent member system was introduced to Country Girls, Yamaki decided not join another group and instead focus on her studies. Yamaki is currently a third year student in Keio University's Faculty of Business and Commerce. Since College Cosmos was formed on the basis of balancing work as an idol and university student, Yamaki decided to join because she would not be overwhelmed.
College Cosmos will perform as the opening act at Hello! Project 20th Anniversary!! Hello! Project Hallo! Fes 2018 and also participate in the SATOYAMA & SATOUMI with Nyaozane Matsuri in Kumagaya on October 20 and 21. The group will make their CD debut in spring 2019. Before then, the track "Kotoba no Mizu wo Roka Shitai" has been pre-released for digital download along with a music video uploaded on YouTube.
Source: Hello! Project, Yamaki Risa Offical Blog Entry

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August 24, 2018 - Horie Kizuki and Kanatsu Mizuki leave Hello Pro Kenshuusei
On August 24, when the list of members participating in the upcoming Hello Pro Kenshuusei recital was updated at the official Hello! Project website, it was revealed that Horie Kizuki and Kanatsu Mizuki had finished their training.
Horie Kizuki joined Hello Pro Kenshuusei on November 29, 2014 as one of the 22nd generation members, while Kanatshu Mizuki joined on May 4, 2015 as one of the 24th generation members.
Source: Hello! Project

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August 17, 2018 - Iikubo Haruna to graduate from Morning Musume '18 and Hello! Project
On August 17, Iikubo Haruna annnounced on her blog that she will graduate from both Morning Musume '18 and Hello! Project at the end of the fall tour Morning Musume '18 Concert Tour Aki ~GET SET, GO!~.
Iikubo joined Morning Musume on September 29, 2011 as a member of the 10th generation. She became a sub-leader of the group on May 21, 2013 and is currently the longest serving sub-leader in the group's history.
After she graduates, she will continue doing solo work in the entertainment industry, where she will try to accomplish various challenges with what she has learned from her time in Morning Musume.
Source: Iikubo Haruna Official Blog Entry, Hello! Project

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August 5, 2018 - Hello Pro All Stars to release a 20th anniversary single
On August 5, it was announced that all Hello! Project groups, with a total of 55 members, will be releasing their 20th anniversary collaboration single "YEAH YEAH YEAH / Akogare no Stress-free / Hana, Takenawa no Toki" under the name of Hello Pro All Stars on September 26, 2018.
The first two A-sides are both written by Hello! Project's former general producer Tsunku, and the third is a cover of the theme song of the film Kita no Sakuramori. All editions include the bonus track "Hello! History" written by Maeyamada Kenichi, also known as Hyadain, and the regular editions each include a different version of "YEAH YEAH YEAH" sung by one of the debuted groups (therefore not including the new units).
Source: Hello! Project

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June 20, 2018 - Ogata Haruna graduates from Morning Musume '18 and Hello! Project
On June 20, 12th generation member Ogata Haruna graduated from Morning Musume '18 and Hello! Project, as well as retired from entertainment, in the Morning Musume Tanjou 20 Shuunen Kinen Concert Tour 2018 Haru ~We are MORNING MUSUME~ Final Ogata Haruna Sotsugyou Special at Nippon Budokan.
She announced her graduation in late March after she had passed the entrance exam for a junior college that she then began attending in April. It became difficult for Ogata to continue idol activities due to classes taking up most of her schedule, which led her to make the decision to graduate. After completing junior college, she plans to transfer to a four-year university, which she has wished to attend since she graduated from high school in 2017, but was unable to pass the exam at the time.
Ogata joined Morning Musume in September 30, 2014 as a winner of the Morning Musume '14 <Golden> Audition! alongside Nonaka Miki, Makino Maria, and Haga Akane. She is the first of the four to graduate with a tenure of 3 years and almost 9 months.
Source: BARKS, Nikkan Sports

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June 13, 2018 - Inaba Manaka joins Juice=Juice
On June 13, it was announced in episode #274 of Hello! Project Station that Inaba Manaka has joined Juice=Juice.
Originally a member of Country Girls, Inaba went on hiatus in April 2016 due to health problems and later graduated after a three month absence. When she returned to Hello! Project in September 2017, Inaba started carrying out Hokkaido-based activities as a solo talent and the leader of Hello Pro Kenshuusei Hokkaido, as well as performing in the annual Hello! Project concerts. As she has not shown any problems with her physical health, it was decided she could return to doing full-scale activities.
She will begin activities as member of Juice=Juice in the Hello! Project 20th Anniversary!! Hello! Project 2018 SUMMER concert tour, but will also continue local activities in Hokkaido.
Source: Hello! Project Station, Hello! Project

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June 9, 2018 - Hello Pro Kenshuusei selected to debut in new groups (UPDATED)
Six Hello Pro Kenshuusei members that have been selected to join the two new groups were announced on June 9 during the Hello! Project Kenshuusei Happyoukai 2018 6gatsu ~Niji~ at Zepp Tokyo.
Shimakura Rika, Nishida Shiori, and Eguchi Saya have joined the performance-focused group led by Ichioka Reina; and Maeda Kokoro, Yamazaki Yuhane, and Okamura Minami have joined the theatrical-style group with Takase Kurumi and Kiyono Momohime.
The ongoing Hello! Project "ONLY YOU" Audition, which is searching for members of the general public to join, recently had its application deadline on June 6. Both groups are expected to begin activities between this summer and fall.
June 11 UPDATE: The announcement was finally posted on the Hello! Project website two days later, stating that both groups will make their stage debut in the Hello! Project 20th Anniversary!! Hello! Project 2018 SUMMER concert tour starting on July 14.
Source: Yamagishi Riko Official Blog Entry, Hello! Project

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May 29, 2018 - Inoue Hikaru leaves Hello Pro Kenshuusei
On May 29, the official Hello! Project website updated the list of members participating in the upcoming Hello Pro Kenshuusei recital, and it was noted that Inoue Hikaru had ended her training.
Inoue Hikaru joined Hello Pro Kenshuusei on May 5, 2013 as one of the 19th generation members, and she had been appointed as the leader four years later, on May 5, 2017.
Source: Hello! Project

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May 11, 2018 - Hello! Project "ONLY YOU" Audition begins
On May 11, the Hello! Project "ONLY YOU" Audition finally opened with an application deadline on June 6.
Back in March, it was announced that an audition for a new "performance group" led by Ichioka Reina and a second "small theater troupe" group formed by Takase Kurumi and Kiyono Momohime would open in late April. On May 1, it was announced that these plans were pushed back, and the audition details would be announced and applications would start being accepted on May 11.
The audition is searching for members who don't just love singing and dancing or Hello! Project, but have a special talent or skill they are confident they won't lose to anyone else; for example, cheerleading for a long time, seriously taking juggling lessons, taking rhythmic gymnastics or ballet from a young age, a strong sense of owarai humor, can speak three languages, etc. Members may also be selected from Hello Pro Kenshuusei by a separate method from the audition.
Source: Hello! Project, Audition Site

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May 6, 2018 - Hello! Project Kenshuusei Happyoukai 2018 ~Haru no Koukai Jitsuryoku Shindan Test~ results
On May 6, the annual Haru no Koukai Jitsuryoku Shindan Test took place at Nakano Sun Plaza.
The winner of "Best Performance" was 27th generation member Shimakura Rika with 324 fan votes.
Awarded by judges were: 24th generation member Maeda Kokoro (Dancing Award), 26th generation member Nishida Shiori (Character Award), and Hello Pro Kenshuusei Hokkaido members Yamazaki Mei (Singing Award) and Ishiguri Kanami (Guest Judge Award).
Source: Hello! Project

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April 23, 2018 - Kitagawa Ryo and Hashimoto Momoko leave Hello Pro Kenshuusei
On April 23, the official Hello! Project website updated the list of members participating in the upcoming Hello! Project Kenshuusei Happyoukai 2018 ~Haru no Koukai Jitsuryoku Shindan Test~ event on May 6, and it was noted that both Kitagawa Ryo and Hashimoto Momoko had ended their training and therefore would not be participating in the event, or any future Hello! Project-related activities.
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Kitagawa was a first generation member of Hello Pro Kenshuusei Hokkaido, a regional branch of the main trainee group, having joined on July 31, 2016 following the Hello! Project "Hokkaido Gentei" Member Audition. During her time in the group, she participated in two singles: "Real☆Little☆Girl / Kanojo ni Naritai!!!" and "Hankouki! / Ice day Party", whereas Hashimoto was a newer addition to Hello Pro Kenshuusei, having joined as a 28th generation member on December 10, 2017 following the Hello! Project Shin Member Audition.
Source: Hello! Project

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April 5, 2018 - Wada Ayaka to graduate from ANGERME and Hello! Project in spring 2019
On April 5, Wada Ayaka, the current leader of ANGERME and Hello! Project, announced on her blog that she would graduate one year from now at the end of ANGERME's 2019 spring tour.
Wada has discussed graduating since last year, and this year she became set on the decision. She wants to continue working as an idol after she graduates and express herself through not only singing and dancing, but in various other ways.
Source: Hello! Project, Wada Ayaka Official Blog Entry

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March 30, 2018 - Update on Ichioka Reina's new group, and Takase Kurumi and Kiyono Momohime's new section
It was originally announced on May 5, 2017 that Hello Pro Kenshuusei members Takase Kurumi and Kiyono Momohime would specifically debut in a new theater-focused section while Ichioka Reina, Danbara Ruru, and Kawamura Ayano would debut in Hello! Project. On June 26, 2017, Kawamura became a member of ANGERME and Danbara became a member of Juice=Juice, but it was announced that Ichioka would instead become the leader of a new group. Until now, this was the last news fans had heard.
On March 30, 2018, an update on the status of their group and section was posted on the official Hello! Project website. Ichioka Reina will lead a "performance group" that aims to elevate singing and dancing through physical expression. Takase Kurumi and Kiyono Momohime will form a group with the image of a "small theater troupe" that uses expressive power and theatrical elements in their singing and dancing.
An audition for new members to join either of the two groups will open in late April. Members may also be selected from Hello Pro Kenshuusei. Both groups are expected to begin independent and joint activities between the summer and fall.
Source: Hello! Project, Hello! Project (Audition Announcement)

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March 27, 2018 - Ogata Haruna to graduate from Morning Musume '18 and Hello! Project
On March 27, it was suddenly announced that 12th generation member Ogata Haruna has decided to graduate from Morning Musume '18 and Hello! Project on June 20 in the Morning Musume Tanjou 20 Shuunen Kinen Concert Tour 2018 Haru ~We are MORNING MUSUME~ finale at Nippon Budokan.
For the past year, she has been studying for entrance exams while working. She was recently accepted into a junior college, which she will begin attending in April. However, she will face the difficulty of balancing idol activities and college due her having lectures every weekday from morning to evening. As she also plans to transfer to a four-year university afterwards, she has made the decision to graduate from Morning Musume to focus on her studies.
Source: Hello! Project, Morning Musume 12ki Official Blog (Ogata Entry)

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February 9, 2018 - Goto Sayaka leaves Hello Pro Kenshuusei
On February 9, the official Hello! Project fanclub website updated the list of members participating in the upcoming Hello! Project Kenshuusei Happyoukai 2018 3gatsu ~Sakura~ concert series, running from March 11 to March 18.
It was noted that Goto Sayaka had decided to end her training within the program and therefore would not be participating in the concerts, or any future Hello! Project-related activities.
The announcement came as a shock to fans, as she had only joined two months ago, making her have the quickest withdrawal since Sezaki Azusa in 2009.
Goto Sayaka was introduced, and last performed at the Hello! Project Kenshuusei Happyoukai 2017 12gatsu ~Conti→New!~ concert on December 10, 2017. She was previously a member of the Oita local idol group SPATIO, which she graduated from at the beginning of November 2017 in order to continue on in the Hello! Project Shin Member Audition and accept her invitation to join Hello Pro Kenshuusei.
Source: Hello! Project Fanclub

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January 28, 2018 - ANGERME announce their first overseas concert
On January 28, ANGERME announced during the Hello! Project 20th Anniversary!! Hello! Project 2018 WINTER ~FULL SCORE~ concert that they would be holding their first overseas concert in Paris, France on June 3.
The concert will take place at La Cigale, where ℃-ute and Juice=Juice have also performed during their visits to France.
Source: Hello! Project

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January 12, 2018 - Miyamoto Karin hospitalized due to neck injury (UPDATED)
On January 12, an announcement was posted to the Hello! Project website stating that Juice=Juice member Miyamoto Karin had been hospitalized due to neck and head pain after twisting her neck during Hello! Project 20th Anniversary!! Hello! Project 2018 WINTER concert rehearsals on January 3. As a result, she was absent from the January 3 to January 7 concerts, which was previously reported due to "poor health".
Although her pain has improved over the past week, she has been having hearing sensitivity. The hospital referred her to a specialist who suspects she may have developed Bell's palsy, a type of paralysis that affects the facial muscles and generally lasts between 2 weeks to 6 months. She will be hospitalized for a week and absent from the upcoming January 13 and January 14 winter concerts. Her future activities will be decided based on the results of her doctor's findings.
January 18 UPDATE: It was announced on the Hello! Project website that Miyamoto was discharged from hospital on January 15 and was gradually resuming activities. In a consultation with the doctor and her parents, it was decided it was necessary to continue watching over her progress after being medically treated. It was also decided that she would still be absent from the winter tour concerts on January 20 and 21, and she will instead make her return to performance at the Juice=Juice LIVE GEAR 2018 ~Go ahead~ starting on January 25. Miyamoto will continue to readjust in order to restart all live activities.
Source: Hello! Project, Hello! Project (Update)

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