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Morning Musume
モーニング娘。
General Information

Origin

Tokyo, Honshū, Japan

Genre

Japanese pop

Years active

1997-present

Label

Zetima

Associated acts

Coconuts Musume, Country Musume, GAM, Mini Moni, Morning Musume Otome Gumi, Morning Musume Sakura Gumi, Morning Musume Tanjou 10nen Kinentai, Petitmoni, Tanpopo, v-u-den,W,Guardians 4,High-King, Muten Musume, Morning Musume OG

Website

Hello! Project.com

Members

Niigaki Risa (2001-Present)
Michishige Sayumi (2003-Present)
Tanaka Reina (2003-Present)
Mitsui Aika (2006-Present)
Fukumura Mizuki (2011-Present)
Ikuta Erina (2011-Present)
Sayashi Riho (2011-Present)
Suzuki Kanon (2011-Present)
Iikubo Haruna (2011-Present)
Ishida Ayumi (2011-Present)
Satou Masaki (2011-Present)
Kudou Haruka (2011-Present)

Former Members

Fukuda Asuka (1997-1999)
Ishiguro Aya (1997-1999)
Ichii Sayaka (1998-2000)
Nakazawa Yuuko (1997-2001)
Goto Maki (1999-2002)
Yasuda Kei(1998-2003)
Abe Natsumi (1997-2004)
Tsuji Nozomi (2000-2004)
Kago Ai (2000-2004)
Iida Kaori (1997-2005)
Yaguchi Mari (1998-2005)
Ishikawa Rika (2000-2005)
Konno Asami (2001-2006)
Ogawa Makoto (2001-2006)
Yoshizawa Hitomi (2000-2007)
Fujimoto Miki (2003-2007)
Kusumi Koharu (2005-2009)
Kamei Eri (2003-2010)
Junjun (2007-2010)
Linlin (2007-2010)
Takahashi Ai (2001-2011)

Morning Musume (モーニング娘。, Mōningu Musume), sometimes referred to as Momusu (モー娘。) or Momusume (often in tabloids, news, モー娘。), is the lead group of the Hello! Project. Beginning back in 1997 on a talent show called ASAYAN, it quickly became, and still remains one of Japan's top all girl groups with a number of hit records and albums. They have sold over 18,158,303 copies in Japan alone. They were masterminded by Yamazaki Naoki and managed by their producer Tsunku who is responsible for the composition of the majority of their songs and lyrics, production of their CD-sleeve covers, designing of their costumes and make-up and their live shows. Currently, they hold the record of having the highest overall single sales (of a female group) on the Oricon charts.

Since their expansion into the Chinese market in 2007, the group officially adopted the name Jou An Sao Nu Jou (Zao An Shao Nu Zu, Traditional Chinese:早安少女組。). In regards to media and tabloids they are sometimes known as Momusu (モー娘。).

Musume (娘), in this context, means girl. The group is known for ever fluctuating line-up, with "graduations" and auditions held nearly every year. 2008 was the only year so far in which no line-up changes occurred and the current line-up has been the longest unchanging lineup so far going over 2 years with no graduations or new members until Kusumi Koharu graduated in December 2009. In recent years the group have been making a concerted attempt to break into new markets in Asia, Europe and the US, performing at EXPOs worldwide.

Morning Musume's highest selling single is LOVE Machine with 1,646,630. Morning Musume's lowest selling single is Mikan with 38,667.

Members

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For more members info please visit Morning Musume Members page

Current Members

Fifth Generation

The fifth generation joined Morning Musume in 2001 with a total of four members, two having since graduated. On September 30, 2011 Niigaki Risa is the only fifth gen member.

Sixth Generation

The sixth generation joined Morning Musume in 2003 with a total of four members; three through the nationwide auditions and one (Fujimoto Miki) being added by Tsunku. Fujimoto Miki left Morning Musume on June 1, 2007 and Kamei Eri graduated on December 15, 2010.

Eighth Generation

The eigth generation members joined at different times Mitsui Aika joined in 2006 through the auditions and Junjun and Linlin being added in 2007 by Tsunku. Members Junjun and Linlin graduated on December 15, 2010.

Ninth Generation

The members were revealed at the Hello! Project winter concert on January 2, 2011. The ninth generation joined Morning Musume in 2011 with a total of four members; three through the nationwide auditions and one Hello! Pro Egg member (Fukumura Mizuki) being added by Tsunku.

Tenth Generation

The application process started on June 13. Audtions started June 13. It was announced that girls are allowed to audition for S/mileage but will only be allowed to join one group. At first, rather than 2 girls being added, four girls were added to Morning Musume after the audtions the day before Takahashi Ai's graduation. The tenth generation joined in September 29, 2011 with a total of four members; three through the nationwide auditions and one Hello! Pro Egg member (Kudou Haruka).

Former Members

These are the members of Morning Musume who have either graduated from the group to pursue other projects within Hello! Project - such as working within another group or becoming a soloist - or those who resigned from Morning Musume due to scandal or simply left the group. Morning Musume OG

First Generation

Second Generation

Third Generation

Fourth Generation

Fifth Generation

Sixth Generation

Seventh Generation

Eighth Generation

  • Junjun (Graduated: December 15, 2010)
  • Linlin (Graduated: December 15, 2010)

History

Japanese producer Tsunku started the group in 1997 through an audition for a female rock vocalist for his band Sharan Q. The audition was held on the Japanese TV show Asayan. The winner was Heike Michiyo, later to become a soloist under what would eventually become known as Hello! Project. Tsunku decided to form a girl group consisting of five of the runners-up: Nakazawa Yuuko, Abe Natsumi, Iida Kaori, Fukuda Asuka, and Ishiguro Aya. They were issued a challenge to sell 50,000 copies of their demo single, "Ai no Tane," with just five days of promotion events. They managed the feat in four promotion days (spread out over November, 1997) in a very grassroots manner, and Tsunku began his mission to create the most famous all-girl group in Japan.

1998

In early 1998, the girls were ready with their first official single, "Morning Coffee." The success of this single (hitting #6 on the Japanese pop charts) brought them three new members known as the second generation: Yasuda Kei, Yaguchi Mari, and Ichii Sayaka, bringing the total member count to eight. The second single, Summer Night Town, was the first single of the new lineup—a mature pop tune about unsuccessfully attempting to hide one's true feelings. Their third single, "Daite Hold on Me!," continued in the same vein musically as Summer Night Town, and managed to hit #1 on the charts. Leader Nakazawa also started her solo career.

First Time was released in July 1998, featuring the singles "Ai no Tane","Morning Coffee" and "Summer Night Town".

That year, Tsunku also formed Tanpopo, the first subgroup of Morning Musume, with Kaori Iida, Aya Ishiguro, and Mari Yaguchi. Tanpopo touted slower, more mature songs.

1999

1999 kicked off with the group's fourth single "Memory Seishun no Hikari," failing to hit #1 but managing to snag #2 on Oricon (GLAY's "Winter, again" was #1 for the week, with 1st week sales of 955,780 copies, while Morning Musume's Memory Seishun no Hikari's was 195,720). The song contained a rap section and intense vocal harmonization on the girls parts. This was Asuka Fukuda's last single with Morning Musume, making her currently the shortest-lived member at 2 years. Asuka claimed that she was leaving in order to focus on her studies, only to drop out of school soon after.

"Manatsu no Kōsen" was released in May and was a summer tune. It went to #3 on the charts, and the sales dropped by half from Memory Seishun no Hikari); Morning Musume's chart position was visibly lagging at the time, their sixth single, "Furusato," only sealing the fact. Natsumi Abe sang the entire song "Furusato", with the other members harmonizing discreetly. This single was #5, and the sales once again decreased by half.

Second Morning was released in July 1999, and contained the singles "Daite Hold on Me!," "Memory Seishun no Hikari," "Manatsu no Kōsen," and "Furusato." "Daite Hold on Me!" and "Manatsu no Kōsen" were remixed.

Eager to add new life to the group, Tsunku held auditions for the third generation of Morning Musume. Two girls were expected to be admitted, but ultimately only Goto Maki was added. Goto was 13, the youngest member of Morning Musume at the time. The group's seventh single, "LOVE Machine," sold 1,730,000 copies, making it a major hit; it is still their highest-selling single to date. The song touted an image of Japan as the future "envy of the world" and cheered the masses during a period of economic recession. It was Maki Goto's first single and Ishiguro Aya's last. Its wild success dramatically increased the popularity of the group.

Soon Goto was paired with Kei Yasuda and Sayaka Ichii to form the subgroup Petitmoni (also known as Pucchi Moni). Petitmoni's first single, "Chokotto Love," rivaled the success of "Love Machine," selling over 1,123,610 copies.

2000

2000 first saw the release of "Koi no Dance Site," which hit #2 and sold over a million—400,000 copies away from reaching Love Machine's success. The single had the highest 1st week sales than any other Morning Musume's singles, an enormous amount of 600,860 copies. Even with this large number, the single did not reach #1 because Southern All Stars's biggest hit single, TSUNAMI, which sold total of 2.93 million copies, was released at the same date as Koi no Dance Site. Aya Ishiguro left the group before the single was released in order to marry Shinya, drummer of rock band Luna Sea, leaving the group with seven members.

The second event of 2000 was the creation of "shuffle units," in which all members of Tsunku's then 16-member family, Hello!Project, were shuffled around to form three one-time groups: Akagumi 4, Kiiro 5, and Aoiro 7. The idea was to battle for the highest single sales. This was achieved by Akagumi 4 which, to no surprise, boasted Maki Goto as the lead vocals.

In March, their third studio album, 3rd -Love Paradise- was released. Despite having "Love Machine" and "Koi no Dance Site" on its track list, it did not manage to claim the #1 spot, but did sell more than 800,000 copies, making it Morning Musume's highest-selling studio album to date.

This year also brought a new generation search. The fourth generation consisted of Ishikawa Rika, Yoshizawa Hitomi, Tsuji Nozomi, and Kago Ai, lending a completely different feel to the group by adding the 12-year-old duo of Tsuji and Kago. After their debut single, "Happy Summer Wedding," (continuing the legacy of #1 hits with 1,370,000 copies sold,) Sayaka Ichii graduated to pursue her own music career. She became the vocalist ofJapanese group Cubic Cross and later married fellow member Naoki Yoshizawa (no relation to Hitomi Yoshizawa).

With Ishiguro and Ichii gone, both Tanpopo and Petitmoni revised their lineups—Hitomi Yoshizawa joined Petitmoni, and Ai Kago and Rika Ishikawa were added to Tanpopo. Meanwhile, Mari Yaguchi had started performing informally with Ai Kago and Nozomi Tsuji in concerts as Minimoni, a group tailored towards younger audiences with all the members being less than 150 cm (about 5 ft) tall. Mika Todd of Coconuts Musume was later added into the group and Tsunku made them official. Their debut single, "Minimoni Jankenpyon!," was a #1 hit on the Oricon.

As an idol group, they were extremely successful, drawing comparisons to the popularity of former girl idol group Speed. "I WISH" and "Renai Revolution 21" (Yuko Nakazawa's last single) continued the trend of happy pop songs becoming staple hits for the group. Morning Musume also began their tradition of performing in musicals each year, breaking new ground as idols with their hit musical, Love Century -Yume wa Minakerya Hajimaranai-.

2001

Morning Musume was featured in a game called Space Venus. In April 2001, group leader Yuko Nakazawa graduated to concentrate more on her solo career ( as a factor as well—she felt it was limiting her ability to meet the physical demands of the group's activities) making Kaori Iida and Kei Yasuda Morning Musume's co-leaders. During this time, the Rika Ishikawa was "lent" out to the rather inactive group, Country Musume. She did not officially join, but she sang with them for a short period of time.

By July 2001 the string of #1 hits had yet to be broken with the release of the single "The Peace!." The Peace! was another somewhat bizarre pop tune, beginning with an almost fight song-like call and response, and featuring Rika Ishikawa as the lead. She had a dialog in the middle of the song, many solo lines, and took center in the dance and the cover shot. The promotional video echoed the song's strangeness by placing the group in the middle of what appeared to be a gigantic public bathroom, displaying the girls dancing amongst the urinals and posing for photographs in the stalls; supposedly as a response to hidden camera footage of the members that had recently surfaced, filmedfrom a toilet in their production offices.

At the end of January 2001, the best selling Hello! Project album to date, at 2,259,510 copies, was released: "Best! Morning Musume 1." It featured 15 tracks, the only original song being "Say Yeah! -Motto Miracle Night-."

At the end of 2001, four new members joined the group as the 5th Generation through the audition "Love Audition 21:" Takahashi Ai, Konno Asami, Ogawa Makoto, and Niigaki Risa, bringing the roster to 13 girls. Their first single "Mr. Moonlight ~Ai no Big Band~," (done in the style of big band) featured fourth generation member Hitomi Yoshizawa as the central focus and main vocalist of the song.

2002

In February, "Souda! We're Alive," another hit, was released. It featured many different styles combined into one song, centered on Mari Yaguchi.

In July 2002, "Do it! Now" was released. This single finally broke the line of #1 hits and came in at #3—a surprising fact to many, considering it was Maki Goto's last single.

Morning Musume's fourth studio album, 4th Ikimasshoi! was released in March 2002 after a two year wait. It is the first studio album from the group to reach #1 on Oricon. It featured the singles "Renai Revolution 21," (rerecorded with the current 13-person formation,) "The Peace!," (in a 'full', longer version,) "Mr.Moonlight ~Ai no Big Band~," (with added dialog at the beginning,) and "Souda! We're Alive."

Late 2002 was marked by the graduation of Maki Goto and a mass re-shuffle of the sub-units. Tsunku removed Kaori Iida, Mari Yaguchi, and Ai Kago from Tanpopo, adding in Asami Konno, Risa Niigaki, and Ayumi Shibata of Melon Kinenbi to join Rika Ishikawa. Tanpopo only released one single with this lineup before the group was put on an indefinite hiatus status. Makoto Ogawa and Ayaka Kimura of Coconuts Musume joined Hitomi Yoshizawa in Petitmoni to replace Kei Yasuda and Maki Goto, but the group did not even release a single, only performing in concerts. Their song "Wow Wow Wow" was later released on the Hello! Project's compilation CD Petit Best 4. In Mini Moni, Mari Yaguchi was replaced by Ai Takahashi and the new lineup went on to put out several singles and a second album until member Mika Todd graduated in May 2004, adding Mini Moni to the list of "indefinite hiatus" subgroups.

In October "Koko ni Iruzee!" was released, a fast-paced, feel-good song about making the most of life and music's ability to unite the world. It was #1 on Oricon.

2003

The unique child-like tune "Morning Musume no Hyokkori Hyōtanjima" was released in February 2003 as the group's seventeenth single. It is significant because it was a cover song, marking the first time Tsunku did not write a single's lyrics.

April brought the notably successful single "As for One Day"—a synthesizer-driven song about lost love—which sold 129,893 copies and hit #1 in Oricon charts, and was the last time a Morning Musume single got #1 until "Aruiteru" (released late 2006). This single was the last for Kei Yasuda.

Before the auditions for the sixth generation were held, the group released the album No.5. It was unique in a few ways. It was the last studio album to feature Kei Yasuda and Natsumi Abe as full members of the group. It was also the first Morning Musume studio album to feature a former member, as Maki Goto guests on "Megami ~Mousse na Yasashisa~" and "Ganbacchae." It only featured two singles: "Do it! Now" and "Koko ni Iruzee!."

In mid-2003, four new girls were added as the sixth generation: Fujimoto Miki, Kamei Eri, Michishige Sayumi, and Tanaka Reina. After she pulled off a successful appearance on the New Year's music program "Kōhaku Uta Gassen" with several Morning Musume members dancing as backup, Tsunku also added in Miki Fujimoto (originally an up-and-coming solo singer under Hello! Project) as part of the sixth generation. Their debut concert was also Kei Yasuda's graduation concert, and Tsunku has said that this one-time 16-member group is the largest Morning Musume will ever be.

The sixth generation's first single was "Shabondama," which featured "break-up" lyrics, a seemingly spontaneous dance routine, and rolled "r"s.

Mari Yaguchi became Morning Musume's sub-leader after Kei's graduation and was also put in charge of training and assisting the trainee group of Hello! Project Kids, eventually forming a group with 5 of them, known as ZYX.

Later in 2003, Morning Musume was split into two subgroups so that it could tour more cities (especially smaller cities that could not support a 15-member troupe). Morning Musume Sakuragumi, which focused on slower and more traditional love songs, included Natsumi Abe, Mari Yaguchi, Hitomi Yoshizawa, Ai Kago, Ai Takahashi, Risa Niigaki, Asami Konno and Eri Kamei. Morning Musume Otomegumi, which had more upbeat pop songs with a slight rock flavor, featured Kaori Iida, Rika Ishikawa, Nozomi Tsuji, Makoto Ogawa, Miki Fujimoto, Sayumi Michishige, and Reina Tanaka. Sakuragumi released two singles: "Hare Ame Nochi Suki" and "Sakura Mankai," and Otomegumi released two singles as well: "Ai no Sono ~Touch my Heart!~" and "Yūjō ~Kokoro no Busu ni wa Naranee!~."

The last single of Morning Musume in 2003 to feature the entire group was "Go Girl ~Koi no Victory~," which had the members girlishly proclaiming the victory of their love.

2004

In January 2004, Natsumi Abe (known as "the face of Morning Musume" to the general public) graduated to pursue a soloist career. Her last single was "Ai Araba It's All Right," Morning Musume's last song to sell more than 100,000 copies. "Ai Araba It's All Right" had uplifting lyrics (as would be expected, with the title), and a cheery dance sequence.

The group soon released another single, "Roman ~My Dear Boy~." The song showcased an almost rock flavor and centered its lyrics around offering "a dance" to a boy. This was followed by their twenty-third single, "Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari," which is unique in that it was actually about the Morning Musume girls themselves—each member got a verse about their personality. This song would later be remade several times as "Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari 2" and "Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari 3," included in their sixth and seventh album respectively. This single also marked the graduation of fourth generation members Nozomi Tsuji and Ai Kago in August, to focus on "W", their new duo group.

In mid-2004, Morning Musume's second best-of album, Best! Morning Musume 2 was released and featured "Yah! Aishitai" as the only new track. It had a lukewarm reception at best, compared to their first best-of compilation.

Auditions for the seventh generation (named "Lucky 7" to commemorate the seventh generation, the seventh year of Morning Musume, and seven audition sites across Japan) were held in various Japan cities in late 2004, resulting in six finalists. However, on January 9, 2005, Tsunku surprised everyone by announcing that no one in the Lucky 7 audition would be added to Morning Musume, citing that he had set his expectations extra-high this year in hopes of finding an "ace." This was the first time an audition had ended with no new members.

In November 2004, Morning Musume released "Namida ga Tomaranai Hōkago," a ballad that featured Asami Konno, Sayumi Michishige, and Rika Ishikawa.

Following this single Morning Musume Early Single Box was released. It was a 9-CD set containing their first eight singles with a bonus track on each one, as well as a karaoke CD of some of their more popular tunes from the early years.

Finally, at the end of 2004, the group's yearly album was released. Their sixth studio album, named Ai no Dai 6 Kan, hit stores in December. It contained three singles: "Roman ~My Dear Boy~," "Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari," and "Namida ga Tomaranai Hōkago." This was Ai Kago, Nozomi Tsuji, Kaori Iida, Mari Yaguchi, and Rika Ishikawa's last credited studio album.

2005

On January 30, 2005 - then-leader and the last member from the first generation Kaori Iida graduated to pursue a solo singer/artist career, with Mari Yaguchi taking on leadership role with Hitomi Yoshizawa as subleader. Her last single was "The Manpower!!!," which sung about the abilities of the human race and was also the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles theme song. The beginning of 2005 also saw the beginning of Musume Document 2005, which covered behind-the-scenes material, historical footage, and interviews. In February 2005, Tsunku started another audition for Morning Musume's seventh generation. He noted that he was still intent on finding an "ace." This audition resulted with Kusumi Koharu finally being chosen as the sole "miracle" member of the new generation. On April 10, 2005, photos were taken of Mari Yaguchi with Shun Oguri (scheduled to be published in a gossip magazine Friday! on the 15th). On , Yaguchi announced that she would "retire" from Morning Musume and would continue on with solo activities. In her public statement, Yaguchi said that due to the scandal and its publicity, she could no longer sustain an "idol" image befitting of Morning Musume. Because of the nature of her departure (resignation rather than graduation), Yaguchi did not receive a graduation concert. Sub-leader Hitomi Yoshizawa took over as the leader of Morning Musume, and Miki Fujimoto became sub-leader as of July 15, 2005.

Just days after Yaguchi resigned, on April 27, 2005, the group's twenty-sixth single, "Osaka Koi no Uta" was released. The final version featured Yaguchi still, presumably because they did not have enough time to rerecord and remix it. The lyrics are in an Osaka dialect. This single was also Rika Ishikawa's last. She graduated on May 7, 2005 to assume full-time leadership of the Hello! Project trio known as v-u-den.

Kusumi's first single with Morning Musume was July's "Iroppoi Jirettai," a flamenco styled song, which was considered to be the biggest hit of the year—selling around 20,000 more copies than anything else. A 3 city handshake event was organized for the promotion of this single.

Morning Musume's last single of 2005 was "Chokkan 2 ~Nogashita Sakana wa Ookiizo!~," which was a remake of a previous album-only song about the importance of using your intuition and not taking good things for granted. "Koi wa Hassō Do The Hustle!" was going to be the title track for the single, but due to poor preview results, became the coupling track instead.

On December 31, 2005, graduated Morning Musume members Mari Yaguchi, Kaori Iida, Natsumi Abe, Yuko Nakazawa, Ai Kago, Nozomi Tsuji, Rika Ishikawa, Maki Goto, and Kei Yasuda joined the current lineup of Morning Musume to perform the band's signature hit "Love Machine" on the 2005/2006 edition of Kōhaku Uta Gassen. The performance was Yaguchi's first since leaving Morning Musume eight and a half months earlier

2006

On January 16, 2006, it was announced that Morning Musume had won a Kanagawa Image Up Award in recognition of Hello! Project's support of an anti-pollution campaign. Yoshizawa, Fujimoto, and Takahashi represented the band to accept the award.

In February, the group released their seventh studio album, Rainbow 7. It was the first album for Kusumi and the last for Konno and Ogawa. The album features "The Manpower!!!," "Osaka Koi no Uta," "Iroppoi Jirettai," and "Chokkan 2 ~Nogashita Sakana wa Ookiizo!~" (in a remixed form). Kaori Iida, Rika Ishikawa and Mari Yaguchi are not credited anywhere in the liner notes although their vocals appear. Three of the songs on the album are performed by smaller clusters of several group members, and are credited in the liner notes to the featured members involved, rather than to the entire group.

In March 2006, "Sexy Boy ~Soyokaze ni Yorisotte~" was released. It featured an easy-to-learn dance and a parapara style. It was considered to be a relative success.

On April 28, 2006, it was announced by Tsunku from his official website that fifth generation members Asami Konno and Makoto Ogawa were going to graduate. Konno graduated on July 23, 2006 to attend University and Ogawa graduated on August 27, 2006 to study English abroad. Both left Morning Musume, but only Konno left Hello! Project entirely; Ogawa intended to return after completing her studies, and is still pictured as a soloist on Hello! Project's official website. However, as of 2007, Konno returned to Hello! Project to join the new group Ongaku Gatas, making it the first time ever that a girl who left Hello! Project actually returned. She will remain an active member within the agency and Ongaku Gatas while continuing her university studies. Ogawa, on the other hand, returned in June 2008 by appearing on an episode of Morning Musume's television show Haromoni@.

Konno and Ogawa's last single was "Ambitious! Yashinteki de Ii Jan", which, yet again, featured a parapara type arrangement, with a rock 'n' roll flair. It was the group's 30th single, and a limited-edition CD of all past 30 singles mixed into a thirteen-minute track was included on the first pressing. Unfortunately, sales did not add up to the hype or the significance, and Ambitious! clocked in as Morning Musume's lowest-selling single yet.

In mid-2006, the group performed the musical Ribbon no Kishi. Ai Takahashi took the main role; the secondary role was played by alternating members. There was also a mini-concert at the end of each performance, which served as Ogawa's real "graduation concert"—the Wonderful Hearts 2006 concert was initially intended for Konno's graduation only, although Ogawa wore a special outfit and read her graduation comments as well. (A last minute decision that fans were unaware of before the concert began). As for Ribbon no Kishi, an album with a selection of songs was released: Ribbon no Kishi The Musical Song Selection.

In mid-2006, Tsunku announced the audition for the eighth generation, called Morning Musume Happy 8 Audition. The audition started on August 27, 2006 and ended in Tokyo on October 22, 2006. On December 10, 2006's Hello! Morning, it was announced that the only new member was Aika Mitsui. The show had a piece of audition footage each week leading up to December 10, 2006.

The last single release in 2006 was "Aruiteru," which was a huge hit. It was the first single at the #1 spot after 3½ years (their last #1 hit being "As for One Day.") The song's lyrics were credited for its success, with lines like "walking, you're not alone because everyone's here with you, praying for peace." It was a bit of a turn from the hyperactive singles the group had been releasing. Tsunku's group, Sharan Q, also made a rock cover of this song.

Their first mini-album, 7.5 Fuyu Fuyu Morning Musume Mini!, was released in December. It featured five tracks by solo and/or smaller combinations of band members. It also featured the single "Aruiteru."

2007

In early 2007, Morning Musume Tanjō 10nen Kinentai, a unit consisting of Kaori Iida, Natsumi Abe, Maki Goto, Risa Niigaki, and Koharu Kusumi, was created to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Morning Musume. They released a commemorative single called "Bokura ga Ikiru My Asia". The members chosen symbolize the beginning of the group; how they had five members ranging in age from 13–24. Additionally, each member was from an odd-numberedgeneration (Kaori Iida and Natsumi Abe from the first generation, Maki Goto from the third, Risa Niigaki from the fifth, and Koharu Kusumi from the seventh).

On January 2, 2007, an announcement was made during Hello! Project's 2007 Winter concert that the group's leader at the time Hitomi Yoshizawa would graduate from Morning Musume on May 6, 2007, the last day of Morning Musume's 2007 spring tour. The concert was at the Saitama Super Arena in Yoshizawa's hometown in Saitama.

In February, the first single with the eighth generation member Mitsui Aika was released, "Egao Yes Nude." This was the first PV of Morning Musume to appear on the Dohhh!Up site (a streaming website of Hello! Project media). The single went up against tougher competition than "Aruiteru" had, only landing them a #4 spot, although it sold relatively the same number of copies. The song has a funky, disco feel, and is highly-reminiscent of some of the oldest songs of Morning Musume, most notably Summer Night Town.

On the March 11, 2007 edition of the weekly TV show Hello! Morning, producer Tsunku revealed he would make an important announcement in the following episode. Several days later, on March 15, he announced that two other eighth generation members would be joining the group—Li Chun and Qian Lin, both Chinese nationals, were to join as "exchange students." Tsunku stated the two new members would be an important key for their group's planned expansion into Asia and gave them the stage names "Junjun" and "Linlin" respectively. The two made their stage debut on May 6, at Saitama Super Arena, during current leader Yoshizawa's graduation. This is notable, as they are the first non-Japanese members of the group.


On March 21, 2007, the group's eighth studio album, Sexy 8 Beat was released. It was the first album for Aika Mitsui and the last album for Hitomi Yoshizawa and Miki Fujimoto. It featured the singles "Aruiteru," "Egao Yes Nude," "Sexy Boy ~Soyokaze ni Yorisotte~," and "Ambitious! Yashinteki de Ii Jan."

In late April, Morning Musume released their 33rd single, "Kanashimi Twilight." The song style was a huge departure from almost anything Morning Musume had released prior to it, displaying a loud, rock arrangement and the angriest lyrics since Shabondama.

With the success of Kanashimi Twilight, on May 1, 2007, Morning Musume became the "best single selling female group in Japan" with 11,085,000 copies sold—their fifth Oricon record. The achievement surpasses the previous record set by Pink Lady of 11,037,000 copies sold.

On May 6, 2007, Hitomi Yoshizawa graduated. Miki Fujimoto took her place as leader and Ai Takahashi replaced Fujimoto as sub-leader.

As of June 1, 2007, Miki Fujimoto resigned from Morning Musume, due to the tabloid magazine Friday running an article depicting Fujimoto and comedian Tomoharu Shoji in a relationship. Ai Takahashi replaced Fujimoto as leader (a position the latter occupied for the briefest period in the band's history—26 days), and Risa Niigaki became subleader.

Morning Musume's 34th single Onna ni Sachi Are was released on July 25, 2007. It features the debut of new eighth generation members from China Junjun and Linlin. This was the first time that girls from another country entered the group. The single reached #2 on the Oricon Weekly Singles Chart, with sales of 43,364 copies.

On October 26, 2007, Ai Takahashi, Risa Niigaki, and Koharu Kusumi visited Korea to promote their singles collection album Morning Musume All Singles Complete ~10th Anniversary~, which was released on October 24, 2007. Also, Takahashi and Niigaki appeared as special guests in a Korean radio show called Maybee's Turn Up the Volume (메이비의 볼륨을 높여요). Later that same month, on October 29, 2007, all nine members traveled to Taiwan for three days to promote the album. This was the first time Morning Musume held a non-Fan Club promotional event as a group outside of Japan. During their visit, they attended press conferences, appeared for radio and TV show recordings, and held the first-ever public handshaking event outside of Japan.

November 21, 2007 marked the release of Morning Musume's 35th single, "Mikan". Initial sales were poor for the song, which became the group's lowest-selling single, (even lower than the initial indies release of "Ai no Tane", which sold 50,000 copies), both in terms of first week sales and absolute sales figures. As a result, unlike all previous singles, Mikan failed to appear on Oricon's Top 5 Chart, breaking the group's previously held record.

On December 31, 2007, Morning Musume performed in the 58th NHK Kōhaku Uta Gassen with a remixed version of their song "Love Machine" along with °C-ute and Berryz Koubou. Similar to the previous Kōhaku, the red team (females) lost to the white team (males) after attaining votes from the viewers and judges.

2008

Ai Takahashi, Eri Kamei, Sayumi Michishige, and Reina Tanaka participated in the musical Ojigi 30 Degrees at the Shinjuku Theater from February 26 to March 2. Morning Musume's 36th music single, "Resonant Blue," had been announced for release on March 5, 2008 but was postponed until April 16, 2008 because of the busy schedule in the winter/early spring season. Multiple promotional videos were released. With the original, another version, a studio dance shot version, a night scene version, and a one-cut dance version, it makes the most PVs ever released for one single. Also notable is the smoky eye make-up used on the members, a daring new look for Morning Musume as they attempt to expand into Asia.

The group held a concert at Taipei Nankang Exhibition Hall, Taiwan, on May 24, 2008. the first time ever for Morning Musume to have a concert outside Japan.

On April 5, 2008, Morning Musume’s Aika Mitsui complained of a stomach ache after a concert at Hachiōji Citizen Hall. She was diagnosed with acute appendicitis and was ordered to rest for two weeks. Mitsui subsequently missed the concerts on April 12 and 13.

"Resonant Blue" was released on April 16, 2008, the 36th single after it had been delayed due to hectic schedule. The single debuted at #2 and finished third in the Oricon Weekly ranking. Overall, the single marked a rebound from poor sales of the previous single, "Mikan". In its first week, it sold 48,086 copies, 20,004 copies more than "Mikan" and around 5,000 more copies than Onna ni Sachi Are.

From August 6 to August 25, 2008, Morning Musume performed with several members of the all-female Takarazuka theatre troupe in a version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella. Ai Takahashi starred in the main role of Cinderella, with Risa Niigaki as the Prince, and Eri Kamei and Reina Tanaka as the stepsisters. The other members participated as fairies and guards.

Morning Musume's 37th single, "Pepper Keibu", was released on September 24, 2008. Unlike past singles (with the exception of Morning Musume no Hyokkori Hyōtanjima), this song is actually a cover of Pink Lady's debut single, released in 1976. In the first week of the release, it sold approximately 10,000 copies less than Resonant Blue and 10,000 copies more than Mikan.

Berikyū! and Haromoni@ finished their run and both are replaced with Yorosen! . It started on October 6, 2008. The show stars Morning Musume, Berryz Koubou, and ℃-ute.

2008 was the first year in which there were no changes in Morning Musume's lineup.

2009

Morning Musume released their 38th single on February 18, 2009. This was their first single of 2009, titled "Nai Chau Kamo". The title is translated to "I Might Cry" and was released in two limited versions A and B, each including a DVD. On March 18, 2009 they released their ninth studio album called Platinum 9 Disc .

In March 2009, all Morning Musume singles and albums (past and present) became available through JapanFiles.com via digital MP3 format in the United States, Canada and Mexico. It started with "Naichau Kamo" and the simultaneous Japan and USA release of their 9th album Platinum 9 Disc on March 18. Japanfiles also sells Morning Musume CD's as USA versions. It started with the album "Platinum 9 Disc" and their last single "Shōganai Yume Oibito".

Morning Musume released their 39th single, "Shōganai Yume Oibito", on May 13, 2009, attaining a rank of #1 on the Oricon weekly chart, the first time since their "Aruiteru" single in late 2006. It also became the group's first #1 single to feature eighth generation members Aika Mitsui, Junjun, and Linlin.

Following the success of Shōganai Yume Oibito, the group released their 40th single "Nanchatte Renai" on August 12th, which is their third single in 2009. At the same time, with 'Nanchatte Renai' being the group's 40th commemorative single, a commemorative edition will be released along with the usual regular edition plus two limited edition with two different DVDs. What is interesting about the commemorative edition is that there will be a different c/w track in it to the one for the regular and limited editons. This is something the group has never done before (having 2 c/w tracks in different editions of the singles) since their 4th single 'Memory Seishun no Hikari' in 1999. (note: 'Memory Seishun no Hikari' has two c/w track in one edition). Nanchatte Renai has charted at #2 on the Oricon Weekly Sales Chart with 54,973 CDs sold. This single has marked their best opening week since Iroppi Jirettai back in 2005.

With good sales from Nanchatte Renai, Morning Musume is releasing their 41st single "Kimagure Princess" on October 28, 2009. The single is going have four versions (Regular, Limited A, B, and C). The regular will have a photocard while Limited C that will contain 10 different covers. This is not the first time Morning Musume done this. "Ambitious! Yashinteki de Ii jan" came with 10 different covers for their 30th single. Also, Kimagure Princess was the last single with Kusumi Koharu as she graduated in december to persue modeling.

Their latest Greatest Hits Album (B-side collection album) was released featuring all B-side songs from their debut single to 40th single on 3 discs.

2010

Morning Musume released their 42nd single, "Onna ga Medatte Naze Ikenai" was released on February 10, 2010 and will have four versions: Regular and Limited A, B, and C. This will be the first single released with the new eight-member lineup and the first single following the graduation of seventh generation member Kusumi Koharu. Their tenth album, "10 My Me ", will be released on March 17. Their 43rd single, "Seishun Collection", was released on June 9, 2010 and had four versions: Regular and Limited A, B, and C.

It was announced that 6th Generation Member Kamei Eri,along with 8th Generation members Jun Jun and Lin Lin would graduate from Morning Musume at the Morning Musume 2010 Rival Survival Fall Concert Tour. Morning Musume’s Concert Tour 2010 Fall ~Rival Survival~ an additional date at Yokohama Arena has been added to the schedule as the final concert of the tour.

Around the middle of 2010, Tsunku made a new unit called Muten Musume to release their new single Appare! Kaiten Zushi, will be released on October 27. To promote "Sushi" all over the world.

Their 44th single, Onna to Otoko no Lullaby Game, will be released on November 17, 2010 and will have for versions: Regularm and Limited A, B, and C.

Morning Musume is part of the cast for the movie Keitai Deka The Movie 3: Morning Musume Kyuushutsu Daisakusen! ~ Pandora no Hako no Himitsu~.

On December 15, 2010, the graduation of Kamei Eri, Junjun, and Linlin was held. It was the biggest graduation in Morning Musume's history. With this the group went down to 5 members, the smallest line-up since 1998.

In 2010, It was announced that a new group has been created, "Dream Morning Musume" which will consist of former-Morning Musume members: Yuko Nakazawa, Kaori Iida, Natsumi Abe, Kei Yasuda, Mari Yaguchi, Rika Ishikawa, Hitomi Yoshizawa, Makoto Ogawa, Miki Fujimoto, Koharu Kusumi. They will release an album titled "DoriMusu 1" which will consist of two new songs, as well as remakes of older Morning Musume songs.

2011

The four ninth generation members were revealed to be Fukumura Mizuki, Ikuta Erina, Sayashi Riho and Suzuki Kanon at the Hello! Project 2011 Winter: Kangei Shinsen Matsuri concert on January 2, 2011. Fukumura is a former Hello! Pro Egg. Riho Sayashi and Kanon Suzuki are the first members of Morning Musume to be born after the groups formation.

On January 9th, a shocking announcement was made that leader Takahashi Ai would be graduating from Morning Musume and Hello!Project at the group's Autumn 2011 concert (August to October). This announcement shocked many fans considering the group just had a triple graduation in December, plus the addition of the ninth generation only a week previously.The new leader and sub-leader of Morning Musume will be Niigaki Risa and Michishige Sayumi, respectively.

The ninth generation's debut single is "Maji desu ka Suka", the single was going to be released on March 23, 2011 but, due to the earthquake and tsunami it was released April 6, 2011.

On March 12, 2011, it was announced that Morning Musume's upcoming tour would be postponed due to the recent earthquake and tsunami that had hit Japan. The new single reached number 5 on the Oricon weekly charts. Although the sales were relatively low compared to the majority of Morning Musume's recent singles, it is clear that the earthquake and and natural disasters in Japan had a toll on each of the Oricon releases at that time.

Morning Musume 46th single, "Only You," will be released on June 15th, 2011. This summer, Morning Musume will be doing a Fanclub Tour in Hawaii from July 20th - 26th. This will be the first time that the ninth generation members will be traveling overseas as a part of Morning Musume.

On April 11th, 2011, It was announced that the ninth generation of Morning Musume will have a show titled "UstreaMusume"

It was announced May 8, that Morning Musume 10th Generation Audition submissions are starting now til June 13th. According to the news there will be 2 girls added after Takahashi Ai's Graduation. This is shocking, yet exciting news to fans, considering that it's been just 5 months since the 9 Generation joined. The first day of auditions is on June 13th.

Shortly after the announcement, Mitsui Aika went to the hospital, and was diagnosed with a bone fracture in her left ankle.

On September 14th, Morning Musume will be releasing their 47th single. This will be the current leader, Ai Takahashi's last single with Morning Musume after a tenure of 10 years with the group. In order to celebrate Ai Takahashi's long career with Morning Musume, their 47th single will be released as a double A sides. This is the first time in history that Morning Musume has purposely done a double A side single. There will be five versions of the single: Regular, Limited A, Limited B, Limited C and Limited D. Futhermore, In the Limited B version of the single, the B side will be a Ai Takhashi solo. This has also never been done before. The single names are as follows: Kono Chikyuu no Heiwa o Honki de Negatterun da yo! / Kare to Issho ni Omise ga Shitai as the double A side and Takahashi's solo song has been revealed to be called: Jishin Motte Yume Motte Tobitatsu Kara.

Morning Musume's fall tour has revealed to be called, "Ai Believe." It has also been revealed that Ai Takahashi will graduate on the final day of the tour, September 30th, at the Nippon Budokan.

On August 26, 2011, Morning Musume 5th generation member's, Takahashi Ai and Niigaki Risa turned 10 years being in Morning Musume, and 10 years that 5th generation auditions. Also being the longest members to be in Morning Musume.


Life in the Group

The audition process has been described by Takahashi Ai as involving a training camp of three days and two nights, in which participants were expected to learn a new song, a dance routine and a script. Out of 25,000 applicants, nine were selected for the camp in which Takahashi passed.

The girls are afforded three holidays a year of five days each, in winter, summer and for New Year's.

The group always contains a leader and sub-leader, though neither comes with any responsibility. Takahashi Ai has said that the role merely includes encouraging other to do their best, while Niigaki Risa has said that as sub-leader, "there is nothing I have to do, but I want to support [the leader]".

The girls tend to spend their social time together as well as their work time, and have said that they are encouraged to discuss problems if any in-fighting occurs.

The group is a rare case in which the producer, Tsunku, controls all aspects of the group rather than the manager. According to the management, Tsunku is responsible for producing the songs, concepts, costumes, makeup, live shows, CD-sleeve designs and more.


Activities outside of Japan

In addition to already having official fan clubs in Hong Kong, South Korea, and Hawaii, Hello! Project and Morning Musume began actively extending its fanbase outside of Japan and primarily into the rest of Asia starting from the middle of 2007 and into 2008.

In March 2007, Morning Musume inducted its first two non-Japanese members from China, Li Chun (Junjun) of Hunan and Qian Lin (Linlin) of Hangzhou. The duo left in 2010 after the group failed to break into China due to piracy levels, leading to the group focusing on European and American fans and performing at anime EXPOs.

In addition to the unveiling of Hello! Project's Taiwanese website in 2007, Hello! Project has also launched the Taiwan H.P. New Star Audition as well; an audition aimed at recruiting new members to join Hello! Project as Hello Pro Egg members. At this audition, Morning Musume also performed as well.

The TV show Morning Musume New Star airs on Taiwan's TTV network every Saturday and Sunday at 6:30 pm with re-runs Monday to Thursday at 10:15 pm. It ended in mid-August 2008 for re-runs.

Morning Musume also held their 10th Anniversary Live Tour in Korea in June 2008.

In France, Morning Musume music videos are aired on a television channel called Nolife, a channel that features video games and Japanese music.

On February 12, 2009, it was announced that Morning Musume would be attending and performing in the United States at Anime Expo, the nation's largest anime convention, during its 2009 convention, as one of the first official guests of honor. It was also announced that "3, 2, 1 Breakin' Out!", the coupling track of their upcoming single "Shōganai Yume Oibito", would be the official theme song for Anime Expo 2009. The convention was held at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles, California on July 2 to July 5. Their concert was on Friday July 3 with a packed audience of American fans, as well as many foreign fans who traveled to AX for the chance to see them

Morning Musume attended and performed at Japan Expo 2010 in Paris, France as guest of honor. "Tomo", the coupling track to the group's 43rd single, "Seishun Collection", was the event's theme song.

Discography

For more of singles and albums please visit Morning Musume Discography

Albums

Cover Albums

EPs

Best Albums

Other Albums

Singles

Morning Musume Subgroup Singles

Other Singles


Milestones

  • Kōhaku Uta Gassen (紅白歌合戦) youngest participant – 12 year old Kago Ai (51st Kōhaku) from December 31, 2000 until December 31, 2007, when Hagiwara Mai of °C-ute at age 11, broke that 7-year record.
  • Morning Musume recieved four new members in 2011, All were ages 12-14 years old, while everyone else in Morning Musume was in their 20's (Besides Mitsui Aika)
  • Two of the ninth generation members, Sayashi Riho and Suzuki Kanon, And two Tenth Generation members Satou Masaki and Kudou Haruka are the first couple of members to have been born after the group's formation in 1997.
  • All of their singles except for the first, Morning Coffee, the 35th, Mikan, and the 44th, Onna to Otoko no Lullaby Game have ranked in the Oricon Weekly Singles Top 5.
  • Kudou Haruka is the youngest person to ever join Morning Musume at the age of 11 (one month from being 12) and auditioning at age 11. (She beat Kago Ai's Record which was set at the age of 12)
  • Oricon – Most consecutive number one singles by a female group in Japan
  • Oricon – Most Top 10 singles by a female group in Japan
  • Oricon – Most number one singles by a female group in Japan, beating the previous record set by Pink Lady.
  • Oricon – Most consecutive Top 10 singles by a female group in Japan.
  • Oricon – Best single selling female group in Japan—11 million 85 thousand copies sold, becoming their fifth Oricon record.
  • After 10th Generation joined, now four Current Members have a Birthday on the 7th but on different months. (Iikubo Haruna, Ishida Ayumi, Satou Masaki, and Ikuta Erina)
  • Linlin, Fukumura Mizuki, and Kudou Haruka are the only members to be from Hello! Pro Egg.

Awards

  • [1998.12.31] 40th Japan Record Awards 1998 - "Best New Artist"


Auditions

Auditions are held periodically to find and add new members to Morning Musume. Follow the links for more details.

For other Hello! Project auditions see Hello! Project#Auditions.


Subgroups

Not to be mistaken with shuffles units or other separate groups of Hello! Project.

Splinter Groups

  • Morning Musume Sakuragumi
  • Morning Musume Otomegumi

See Also


Member Colors

Current Members

Graduated Members


Total Sales Count

Year Year Sales Total Sales
1997 50,000 50,000
1998 1,466,860 1,516,860
1999 2,892,150 4,409,010
2000 4,959,054 9,368,064
2001 3,660,112 13,028,176
2002 1,726,407 14,754,583
2003 909,881 15,664,464
2004 748,063 16,412,517
2005 336,853 16,749,370
2006 283,763 17,033,133
2007 315,719 17,348,852
2008 147,792 17,496,644
2009 315,018 17,811,662
2010 215,258 18,026,920
2011 131,383 18,158,303

External links

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