Hello! Project Wiki
Hello! Project Wiki

Niigaki Risa (新垣里沙) is a Japanese actress and former idol. She is a former fifth generation member and leader of the pop group Morning Musume under Hello! Project. She was also a member of the group Tanpopo, the Morning Musume splinter group Morning Musume Sakura Gumi, the leader of Athena & Robikerottsu, as well a member of the shuffle units Happy 7, 7AIR, ZYX-α and H.P. All Stars.

She joined Morning Musume in 2001 along with Takahashi Ai, Konno Asami and Ogawa Makoto. Niigaki was the sub-leader of Morning Musume from 2007 to 2011 while Takahashi was leader. After Takahashi graduated, Niigaki Risa inherited her titles as the leader of Morning Musume and also the leader of Hello! Project.

On January 2, 2012, it was announced that Niigaki would graduate at the end of the Morning Musume Concert Tour 2012 Haru ~Ultra Smart~. She graduated from Morning Musume and Hello! Project on May 18 at Nippon Budokan alongside Mitsui Aika.


Niigaki Risa, May 2017

Niigaki Risa, June 2016

Niigaki Risa, April 2015

Niigaki Risa, February 2014

Niigaki Risa, October 2013

Niigaki Risa, March 2013

Niigaki Risa, November 2012

Niigaki Risa, Fall 2012

Niigaki Risa, September 2012

Niigaki Risa, May 2012

Niigaki Risa, May 2012

Niigaki Risa, April 2012

Niigaki Risa, December 2011

Niigaki Risa, October 2011

Niigaki Risa, September 2011

Niigaki Risa, June 2011

Niigaki Risa,March 2011

Niigaki Risa, December 2010

Niigaki Risa, November 2010

Niigaki Risa, October 2010

Niigaki Risa, June 2010

Niigaki Risa, March 2010

Niigaki Risa, January 2010

Niigaki Risa, October 2009

Niigaki Risa, August 2009

Niigaki Risa, May 2009

Niigaki Risa, April 2008

Niigaki Risa, February 2008

Niigaki Risa, November 2007

Niigaki Risa, July 2007

Niigaki Risa, April 2007

Niigaki Risa, February 2007

Niigaki Risa, November 2006

Niigaki Risa, March 2006

Niigaki Risa, February 2006

Niigaki Risa, July 2005

Niigaki Risa, March 2002

Niigaki Risa during 5th generation auditions

Early Life[]

Niigaki Risa was born on October 20, 1988.


Niigaki joined Morning Musume as a fifth generation member along with Takahashi Ai, Konno Asami, and Ogawa Makoto. Morning Musume producer Tsunku said he chose Niigaki because she "shined during the final studio recording" for the audition song that all the finalists had to sing.

She debuted on the group's 13th single, "Mr.Moonlight ~Ai no Big Band~" alongside her fellow generation members.


Her first appearance on a full-length Morning Musume recording was on the album, 4th Ikimasshoi!.

In June, she also debuted in a shuffle unit, as part of Happy 7, coincidentally with two other members of her generation (Takahashi and Ogawa).

Niigaki participated in a drama alongside her fellow Morning Musume members, titled Angel Hearts. She also participated in another drama, Ore ga Aitsu de Aitsu ga Ore de. Niigaki also received a part in the movie Tokkaekko alongside other Morning Musume members. It was released on July 17.

Later in September, all of the fifth generation members were placed into subgroups. Niigaki was placed into Tanpopo as a member of the third generation, along with Konno Asami. The new grouping released only one single before becoming inactive.

Niigaki continued her career in Morning Musume during 2002 and into 2003.

Niigaki also released a joint photobook with the rest of the fifth generation members.

On December 14, the movie Koinu Dan no Monogatari was released in theaters, in which Niigaki played the minor character Kawaguchi Ako.


In a surprise move by Tsunku, Morning Musume was split into two halves - Morning Musume Otome Gumi and Morning Musume Sakura Gumi - so that the large group could perform in smaller towns that could not hold the larger numbers the full ensemble needed. Niigaki was placed into Sakura Gumi and they released two singles before the two groups merged together once more.

Niigaki was included in the 2003 Elemental Shuffle Groups as a member of 7AIR.


Niigaki performed alongside the entire then-ensemble of Hello! Project in a single, large shuffle unit, H.P. All Stars, releasing one single with the unit, "ALL FOR ONE & ONE FOR ALL!".

She released her first solo photobook Niigaki Risa.


Niigaki joined the Hello! Project concert unit Hello! Project Akagumi as a member of Morning Musume. She also participated in two radio shows, TBC Fun Fīrudo Mōretsu Mōdasshu and Hello Pro Yanen!!.


Niigaki joined the Hello! Project concert unit Wonderful Hearts as a member of Morning Musume.

Niigaki released her second solo photobook Amanatsu on June 25.


Niigaki was chosen to be a member of Morning Musume Tanjou 10nen Kinentai along with Iida Kaori, Abe Natsumi, Goto Maki and Kusumi Koharu. The unit was created to celebrate Morning Musume's 10th anniversary. Their first single, Bokura ga Ikiru MY ASIA, was released on January 24. On June 1, following Fujimoto Miki's resignation from Morning Musume, Takahashi Ai replaced Fujimoto as leader, while Niigaki took Takahashi's place as sub-leader.

On May 27, Niigaki released her third solo photobook Isshun.

Following Tsuji Nozomi's pregnancy announcement, Niigaki took over the role of Athena in the animation series Robby & Kerobby. In October, Niigaki was placed in the unit Athena & Robikerottsu along with fellow Morning Musume member Mitsui Aika, as well as Nakajima Saki and Okai Chisato of ℃-ute.


On April 25, Niigaki released her fourth solo photobook Happy Girl.

It was announced in July that Niigaki and fellow Morning Musume member Takahashi Ai would play the '80s J-pop duo Pink Lad' in the TV Drama Hitmaker Aku Yū Monogatari.

From August 6 through August 25, Morning Musume, along with members of the Takarazuka Revue, performed a version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella, with Niigaki playing the Prince.

On August 26, Niigaki became one of four members to remain in Morning Musume for seven years or more (the others being Iida Kaori, Yoshizawa Hitomi and fellow fifth generation member Takahashi Ai).


On January 17, Niigaki and Takahashi became the longest serving members in Morning Musume history, breaking the four year old record set by Iida Kaori.

In 2009, Niigaki was assigned to be a part of the new shuffle group ZYX-α along with Kusumi Koharu, Umeda Erika, Tsugunaga Momoko, Tokunaga Chinami, Sudo Maasa, Wada Ayaka, and Ogawa Saki.

It was announced by the official Anime Expo website that Morning Musume would be attending the annual anime convention in Los Angeles, California in July. Niigaki and the other members were guests of honor at the event. In an interview at the convention, Niigaki revealed that her favorite anime was Sailor Moon, stating that "we copied the hairstyles and had a 'Sailor Moon' playhouse in kindergarten." She also said that "the movies that Disney makes are full of dreams, but when I have children, I'd like them to know about war, the pain of death and such things, so I hope they will watch [anime]."


On July 14, Niigaki released her fifth solo photobook Alo!-Hello Niigaki Risa Photobook -MAHALO-.

It was announced in that Niigaki would be starring in a movie called Gekijoubon Hontou ni Atta Kowai Hanashi 3D as one of the main characters. The movie would star Niigaki along with Nakajima Saki of ℃-ute and Hello Pro Kenshuusei members Takagi Sayuki and Sato Ayano.


On the January 9, fellow fifth generation member Takahashi Ai announced that she would be graduating from Morning Musume and Hello! Project at the end of their autumn concert tour on September 30, making Niigaki the new leader of both after Takahashi graduates. Niigaki would become the member with the longest tenure in the groups history, and the first leader to have once been the youngest member.

On August 26, Niigaki and Takahashi reached 10 years in Morning Musume.

Niigaki starred in a stage play titled Reborn ~Inochi no Audition~ along with Tanaka Reina, Morning Musume ninth generation members, and Hello Pro Kenshuusei member Kudo Haruka.


On January 2, it was announced that Niigaki would graduate from Morning Musume and Hello! Project on the last day of the Morning Musume Concert Tour 2012 Haru ~Ultra Smart~ Niigaki Risa Mitsui Aika Sotsugyou Special on May 18 at Nippon Budokan.

Tsunku's Statement
Thank you for always supporting us.

On this day we have an announcement regarding Morning Musume 5th generation member “Niigaki Risa.

Niigaki Risa, on the final performance for the spring tour beginning on 2012/2/18, “Morning Musume。 Concert Tour 2012 Spring ~Ultra Smart~”, will be graduating from Morning Musume.

As an elementary schooler who loved Morning Musume。 she passed the 5th generation, “Morning Musume。 LOVE Audition 2001”, she was welcomed in her first single released in October of 2001, "Mr.Moonlight~Ai no Big Band~". Since then, with constant smiles and cheerfulness, and her never changing “I love Morning Musume!” title, she’s been a part of them up until now. As subleader since June of 2007, she’s supported Takahashi Ai and the group, and after Takahashi’s graduation, she’s continued to support the continuing addition of new members into Morning Musume。 as leader.

For this girl as well, as far back as a year ago, I’ve considered this path at the same time I was considering the timing of Takahashi’s graduation.

Being challenged with songs and rap as well, for several years Niigaki has carried the heart of the groups songs. Our mission was also to be able to pass the torch to Niigaki. Certainly, there are times when we’ve relied on this girls vitality as well; we entrusted into her leadership the new members who had just joined as well, and so, I’ve searched for the right timing for her graduation. However, we couldn’t hold back her growth forever and so, even though she herself greatly expressed her sadness over graduating from the Morning Musume。 she loves, with the honor of “Longest enrolled member of Morning Musume”, and with great significance firming our resolve, we decided that she would graduate on the final day of this year’s Spring tour.

After graduation she hopes to focus on being a singer, being on stage, and acting, including variety work, being able to do a multitude of different activities.

For now, she’ll be making this New Year’s Hello! Project Performancea success, from there until the final day of the Morning Musume。 tour starting after that. Everyone, until the very end, we wish that you’d please support Niigaki Risa!

And, those of you who are supporting Morning Musume。 as well as all of Hello!Project, please support us as well!"

2012/1/2 Morning Musume Producer Tsunku♂

Niigaki Risa's Statement
I, Niigaki Risa,

will be graduating from Morning Musume and Hello! Project with this years Spring tour. I had been thinking about graduation myself, for about a year, I had thought about graduating with Takahashi Aichan, but with the new members joining and everything, I postponed it just a little bit.

After my Morning Musume graduation, I’ll be studying full force in acting; I feel like I want to challenge myself with experiences in theater and dramas that I couldn’t have experienced while I was doing group activities. But, with these months I have left in Morning Musume, I’ll be giving it my very best as leader!"

2012/1/2 Morning Musume Leader Niigaki Risa

Niigaki Risa would conclude activities in Morning Musume and Hello! Project by promoting "Ren'ai Hunter" and the Morning Musume Concert Tour 2012 Haru ~Ultra Smart~ Niigaki Risa Mitsui Aika Graduation Special.

On February 7, she announced a solo fanclub tour held on April 21 and 22.

On February 17, Niigaki opened an official Ameblo blog.

On April 27, Niigaki released her sixth and last solo photobook ASCENSION.

On May 6, it was revealed that Morning Musume's eighth generation member Mitsui Aika would graduate alongside Niigaki. Mitsui would graduate from Morning Musume due to an ankle fracture which was always under strain due to dancing, especially during concerts, and she had been on hiatus since May 2011. Niigaki and Mitsui both graduated on May 18 at Nippon Budokan. While Niigaki left Hello! Project entirely, Mitsui remained a member.

At the time of her graduation, Niigaki was the longest-serving member of Morning Musume with 3918 days, or 10 years, 8 months and 22 days. Michishige Sayumi inherited Niigaki's leadership and later broke her tenure record on October 12, 2013.

In May, Niigaki starred in a movie called Tobidase Shinsengumi!, which opened in spring 2013.

From June 6 to July 10, Niigaki starred in the stage play Minori.[1]


On March 2 and 3, Niigaki participated in Forest For Rest ~SATOYAMA e Ikou~ SATOYAMA movement in YOKOHAMA along with Hello! Project and other UP-FRONT GROUP talent.

From March 16 to 20, Niigaki starred in the stage play Zettai Kareshi, also known as Absolute Boyfriend, as the lead character Izawa Riiko. The stage play is based on the manga of the same name by Watase Yuu.

On July 15, Niigaki held a dinner show titled Niigaki Risa First Summer Casual Dinner Show.

On December 3, it was announced Niigaki would participate in the stage play Anta Jutte Motta?, which ran from March 6 to 18, 2014.


On February 1, Niigaki held a live titled Niigaki Risa Spring Live 2014 ~Gakisan wa, LIVE Banchou!~ at Duo MUSIC EXCHANGE in Shibuya, Tokyo. On March 22, Niigaki held another live under the same name at FANJ twice in Osaka, Japan. The live was released on M-line Memory Vol.14.

On April 23, it was announced Niigaki would be starring in a horror movie titled Black Film.[2] It premiered in theaters on January 24, 2015.[3]

From December 3 to 11, Niigaki starred in the stage play Kurukuru to Shi to Shitto, along with Kikkawa Yuu, Aikawa Maho, Yamaki Risa, and Yamagishi Riko.


On October 1, Niigaki starred in an single-episode mini drama for Otona e Novel.[4]


From March 16 to 21, Niigaki starred in the stage play adaptation of the manga Akatsuki no Yona as the lead character Yona.[5]


From April 15 to May 7, Niigaki starred as the character Sarah Carson in the stage play Romancing SaGa THE STAGE ~Loanne ga Moeru Hi~,[6] which was an adaptation of the game Romancing SaGa 3 from the SaGa series by Square (now Square Enix).

On June 9, Niigaki was cast as the lead actress in the stage play Risako no Gachikoi ♡ Haiyuu Numa, running from August 5 to 13.[7]


On February 2, Niigaki appeared in music video for BiSH's album song "JAM" as the person Lingling wanted to meet the most.[8][9]

On February 19, she held the Niigaki Risa Solo Live 2018 at COTTON CLUB.

On May 4, she held a joint fanclub event with Takahashi Ai, titled Takahashi Ai・Niigaki Risa FC Event AiGaki DISCO 2018 ~Time Slip~.

On July 7, Niigaki attended Japan Expo 2018 in Paris, France, where she held a screening and talk show about Hello! Project's 20th anniversary which was then followed by a signing session.[10][11]

On July 15, she held the Niigaki Risa LIVE 2018 ~Popcorn to Chobi-tan~ with two shows at Shinjuku ReNY.


In March, Niigaki and Takahashi Ai became regulars in the Wednesday "Oshare Sanpo" corner of CBC TV's Chant!.[12]

On May 19, she held the Niigaki Risa FC Event ~Sotsugyou Shite Kara Maru 7nen. Ano Hi no Furikaeri Kara Uchiage Made Kyou 1nichi de Yacchimae!~ at Pacific Heaven, in which looked back on her seven year since graduating from Morning Musume and Hello! Project.

On September 22, an Instagram account dedicated to tiny hamster plush dolls called hamchancawaiigram opened with Niigaki Risa as one of the account's administrators.[13]


From March 7 to March 15, she starred in the stage play Kyoubone (共骨) as the main protagonist.[14]

On July 25, she will hold a fanclub event with three shows at Pacific Heaven.[15] In compliance with government policy to prevent the spread of COVID-19, cheering, crowding, standing, and closeness in the venue are prohibited, and wearing masks will be required to enter.

On August 1, Niigaki announced that she ended her exclusive contract with J.P ROOM on July 31.[16][17] Afterwards, she plans on remaining active in the entertainment industry and working freelance.

On August 2, she opened up an official YouTube channel.[18]

Personal Life[]

Niigaki has a younger sister.[19]

On March 9, 2012, Niigaki's grandmother passed away at the age of 78.[20]

On January 28, 2017, she and her then-husband Kotani got a dog, a male toy poodle named Chobi.[21][22]

On June 13, 2016, Niigaki announced she would be getting married to actor Kotani Yoshikazu.[23][24] The couple met in 2013 as co-stars during the Zettai Kareshi play and had been dating for two years. Their marriage was officially registered on July 11.[25]

On October 24, 2016, they held a marriage party organized by Niigaki's agency.[26] Several UP-FRONT GROUP talent were guests,[27][28] and they received several congratulatory video messages from members who could not attend. They later held a private wedding reception with their close friends and family on November 23,[29][30] which fellow fifth generation members Takahashi Ai and Ogawa Makoto were guests.[31]

Niigaki and Kotani went to Hawaii for their honeymoon on February 28, 2017 and brought their family with them for a wedding ceremony on March 2.[32][33]

On January 5, 2018, she and Kotani both announced they had divorced. Although their marriage was short at one year and six months, they concluded in a discussion that they were walking on two different paths and it was best for them to go their separate ways.[34][35]

On June 30, 2022, she announced that she would be getting married to YouTuber cameraman Yamaguchi Yasutake. Both of them released YouTube videos to announce their marriage.[36]

When Niigaki joined Morning Musume, she was a first middle school student.

The following list are notable friendships Niigaki Risa has acquired:

  • Takahashi Ai: Niigaki met Takahashi Ai during the 5th generation training camp and became close friends since.
  • Ikuta Erina: She gets along well with her junior Ikuta Erina.

Niigaki's given name, "Risa", means hometown (里; ri) combined with one hundred-millionth (沙; sa). It's a feminine Japanese given name and surname.

Here is a list of nicknames that was used to refer to Niigaki Risa:

  • Gaki-san (ガキさん): Official nickname used by members and fans. It was given to her by comedian Okamura Takashi when Morning Musume was the target of a "Nukiuchi Kimatsu Test" (Surprise End-of-Term Exam) special episode of Mecha-Mecha Iketeru! in 2003.[37][38]
  • Risa-chii (りさちい): Used by fans.


  • Hobby: Going to Disneyland, going to the Disney store
  • Favorite food: Eihire (dried stingray fins), Mickey waffles, grilled eel and parfaits
  • Disliked food: Fried meat
  • Favorite saying: "Be considerate every day and try the hardest you can! hehe"
  • Favorite color: Pea-green and white
  • Favorite flowers: Sunflowers
  • Favorite season: Winter
  • Specialty: Hangul, finishing a task, can text without looking at the keys, and is a self-proclaimed Disney master.
  • Favorite Animal: Cat, penguin

  • Discography[]

    Main article: Niigaki Risa/Discography


    Digital Songs[]

    Solo Songs[]


    • [2012.12.04] Petit Best 13 (プッチベスト13) (#14 Egao ni Namida ~THANK YOU! DEAR MY FRIENDS~)

    Solo DVDs[]

    Alo Hello! Niigaki Risa DVDAlo Hello! 2 Niigaki Risa DVDAlo Hello! 3 Niigaki Risa DVDNiigaki-Risa-as-it-is.jpgMorning Musume Niigaki Risa Sotsugyou Memorial DVD.jpg

    Solo Fanclub DVDs[]

    Morning Days Happy Holiday Niigaki Risa.jpgMikann maro-img422x600-1422623043pqpqfb3568.jpg


    Main article: Niigaki Risa/Publications

    Solo Photobooks[]

    1. [2004.10.07] Niigaki Risa (新垣里沙)
    2. [2006.06.25] Amanatsu (あま夏)
    3. [2007.05.27] Isshun (一瞬)
    4. [2008.04.25] Happy Girl
    5. [2010.07.14] Alo!-Hello Niigaki Risa Photobook -MAHALO- (アロハロ!新垣里沙写真集-MAHALO-)
    6. [2012.04.27] ASCENSION



    Douyou Eizou Shuu ~Ponkikies21~.jpg81Kg0SMcIXL. AC SL1500 .jpgTakahashi-ai-niigaki-risa-improv-theater-dvd-cover1.jpg


    Tokkaekko Cover.jpg250px-Koinu Dan no Monogatari Cover.jpgHontoniattakowai.jpg

    • [2002] Tokkaekko (とっかえっ娘。)
    • [2003] Koinu Dan no Monogatari (子犬ダンの物語)
    • [2010] Gekijouban Hontou ni Atta Kowai Hanashi 3D (ほんとうにあった怖い話3D)
    • [2011] Keitai Deka The Movie 3: Morning Musume Kyuushutsu Daisakusen! ~ Pandora no Hako no Himitsu~ (ケータイ刑事 THE MOVIE3 モーニング娘。救出大作戦!~パンドラの箱の秘密)
    • [2012] Days ~Watashi ga Aitsu ni Natta Toki...~ (デイズ 〜私がアイツになった時・・・〜)
    • [2013] Tobidase Shinsengumi! (とびだせ新選組!)
    • [2015] Black Film (ブラック・フィルム)

    TV Dramas[]

    New drama.jpg

    • [2002] Haikara-san ga Tooru (はいからさんが通る) (as Sumire)
    • [2002] Ore ga Aitsu de Aitsu ga Ore de (おれがあいつであいつがおれで) (as Kawahara Keiko)
    • [2002] Angel Hearts (エンジェールハーツ)
    • [2008] Hitmaker Aku Yu Monogatari (ヒットメーカー 阿久悠物語) (as Kei of Pink Lady)
    • [2010] Hanbun Esper (半分エスパー) (as Super Bus Guide Niigaki)
    • [2012] Suugaku♥Joshi Gakuen (数学♥女子学園)
    • [2013] Dai! Tensai Terebi-kun Dora Machigai (大!天才てれびくんドラまちがい)
    • [2015] Otona e Novel (オトナヘノベル)

    TV Programs[]

    • [2001–2007] Hello! Morning (ハロー! モーニング。)
    • [2002–2004] Tintin TOWN! (ティンティンTOWN!)
    • [2003] Soreyuke! Gorokkies (それゆけ!ゴロッキーズ)
    • [2004] Futarigoto (二人ゴト) (4 episodes)
    • [2004] Majokko Rika-chan no Magical v-u-den (魔女っ娘。梨華ちゃんのマジカル美勇伝)
    • [2005] Musume DOKYU! (娘DOKYU!)
    • [2007–2008] Haromoni@ (ハロモニ@)
    • [2008–2009] Yorosen! (よろセン!)
    • [2009] Bijo Houdan (美女放談) (2 episodes)
    • [2010–2011] Bijo Gaku (美女学)
    • [2011–2012] Hello Pro! TIME (ハロプロ!TIME)
    • [2018] The Girls Live
    • [2019-] Chant! (チャント!) (as a Wednesday regular in the "Oshare Sanpo" segment)


    • [2007–2008] Robby to Kerobby (ロビーとケロビー) (as Athena) (37 episodes)
    • [2014] Jewelincle ~12 no Yousei to Fushigina Houseki-Bako~ (JEWELINCLE じゅえりんくる〜12の妖精とふしぎな宝石箱〜)
    • [2015–] Ponpon Pororo (ポンポン ポロロ) (as Nyao)

    Music Videos[]

    • [2014] Shinseikamattechan (神聖かまってちゃん) - Front Memory (フロントメモリー)
    • [2018] BiSH - JAM



    • [2002–2003] Tanpopo Henshubu OH-SO-RO! (タンポポ編集部 OH-SO-RO!)
    • [2007–2008] GAKI KAME
    • [2009–2010] FIVE STARS
    • [2011–2012] Risa's NightHouse
    • [2012] NHK Gekiraji Live SP (Radio Drama; as Takigawa Kazuko)
    • [2020] Niigaki Risa no Tanoshikatta Hito!?


    E349391e.jpgImg20080702185954116.jpg430px-Morning Musume - Fashionable.jpgCoverCover fullfullKeshigomuDestinyKurukuru

    • [2006] Ribbon no Kishi The Musical (リッボンの騎士ザ・ミュージカル) (as Nouveau)
    • [2008] Cinderella the Musical (シンデレラ the ミュージカル) (as the Prince)
    • [2010] Fashionable (ファッショナブル) (as Murata Miyuu)
    • [2010] Real Etude ~Takahashi Family to Niigaki Family (リアルエチュード『高橋さんと新垣さん家』)
    • [2011] Real-etude Minna no Ie Girl's STAGE (リアルエチュード みんなの家 Girl's STAGE)
    • [2011] Reborn ~Inochi no Audition~ (リボーン~命のオーディション~) (as Joan of Arc)
    • [2011] Sanada Juyushi ~Bokura ga Mamori Takatta Mono~ (真田十勇士~ボクらが守りたかったもの~) (as Yukino)
    • [2012] Minori (みのり)
    • [2012] Stage Play "Tumbling" vol.3 (舞台「タンブリング」vol.3)
    • [2012] Dietrich Ikita Aishita Eien ni (ディートリッヒ 生きた 愛した 永遠に)
    • [2013] Kiben Hashire Melos (詭弁・走れメロス)
    • [2013] Zettai Kareshi (絶対彼氏) (as Izawa Riiko)
    • [2013] Taklimakan (タクラマカン)
    • [2013] Watashi no Atama no Naka no Keshigomu 5th letter (私の頭の中の消しゴム 5th letter)
    • [2013] Destiny (デスティニー)
    • [2013] Onna, Hito Urei (オンナ、ひと憂。)
    • [2013] Shiritsu Hasuhasu Jogakuin!! (私立ハスハス女学院!!)
    • [2014] Uchouten Kazoku (有頂天家族)
    • [2014] Anta Jutte Motta? (あんた十手もった?)
    • [2014] BACK STAGE
    • [2014] The Kaidan Alps Ichiman Jaku Final (The Kaidan アルプス一万尺 Final)
    • [2014] SONG OF SOULS -Keichou Genma Senki- (SONG OF SOULS-慶長幻魔戦記-)
    • [2014] Kurukuru to Shi to Shitto (くるくると死と嫉妬)
    • [2015] Taki Rentaro no Yuujin, to Chijin to Sonohoka no Moromoro (瀧廉太郎の友人、と知人とその他の諸々)
    • [2015] Satsujinki Fujiko no Shoudou (殺人鬼フジコの衝動)
    • [2015] Hoshi no Koe (ほしのこえ)
    • [2015] Shinpan Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura (新版・義経千本桜)
    • [2015] Lizzy Borden Jiken (リジー・ボーデン事件) (as Lizzy Borden)
    • [2015] Maboroshi no Jou ~Sengoku no Utsukushiki Kyouki~ (幻の城 〜戦国の美しき狂気〜)
    • [2015] Soshuu Yakyoku (蘇州夜曲)
    • [2016] Hoshikuzu no Machi ~ Kanketsu-hen (星屑の町~完結篇)
    • [2016] Akatsuki no Yona (暁のヨナ) (as Yona)
    • [2016] Cherry Boys (チェリーボーイズ)
    • [2016] Kiben Hashire Melos (詭弁・走れメロス)
    • [2016] Sin of Sleeping Snow
    • [2016] Tenkyuugi THE SPHERE (天球儀 THE SPHERE)
    • [2016] And so this is Xmas
    • [2016] Tsuki no Kodomo the Musical (月の子供 the Musical)
    • [2016] Hoshizora Rock (星空ロック)
    • [2016] Kengo Shogun Yoshiteru (Zenpen) (剣豪将軍義輝 (前編))
    • [2017] Hotoke no Iroha (ほとけのいろは)
    • [2017] Minna, Cinderella ga Yaritai. (皆、シンデレラがやりたい。)
    • [2017] Romacing SaGa THE STAGE ~Loanne ga Moeru Hi~ (ロマンシング サガ THE STAGE 〜ロアーヌが燃える日〜) (as Sarah Carson)
    • [2017] Nemurenu Yoru no Honky Tonk Blues Dai San Shou ~Kakusei~ (眠れぬ夜のホンキートンクブルース第三章〜覚醒〜)
    • [2017] Risako no Gachikoi ♡ Haiyuu Numa (りさ子のガチ恋♡俳優沼)
    • [2017] Ao no Kyouki, Ao no Bouryoku, Te to Te. Kono Saki, (青の凶器、青の暴力、手と手。この先、)
    • [2017] Tengoku no Kyakuhonka Saejima Kouki ~Sode Furi Au mo Tashou no Utage~ (天国の脚本家 冴嶋コーキ 〜袖振り合うも多生の宴〜)
    • [2017] Momoyama Beat Tribe (桃山ビート・トライブ)
    • [2017] Chinmoku (ちんもく)
    • [2018] Soko no Koto (そこのこと) (as Sokono)
    • [2018] Gem Club II
    • [2018] Minna Nakayoku (みんな仲良く)
    • [2018] Rock no Onna (ロックの女)
    • [2018] Midori-iro no Suihou ni Kiss (みどり色の水泡にキス)
    • [2018] Zebra (ゼブラ)
    • [2019] Tsuki no Tani, Akai Ishi (月の谷 赤い石)
    • [2019] Uso to Kanchigai no Aida de (嘘と勘違いのあいだで) (adapted from Alan Ayckbourn's "Relatively Speaking")
    • [2019] Oshizuka ni Douzo (お静かにどうぞ)
    • [2019] Konya no Asatte (紺屋の明後日)
    • [2019] Suzhou Yakyoku (蘇州夜曲)("Suzhou Nocturne" on some promotional materials)[40]
    • [2020] Kyo Kotsu (共骨)
    • [2021] Love Me Do!! (ラヴ・ミー・ドゥー!!)
    • [2021] Run For Your Wife (ラン・フォー・ユア・ワイフ) (as Mary Smith)


    • She ranked #68 in CDTV's 2004 "Which artist do you want as your girlfriend/lover?" poll.
    • She ranked #65 in CDTV's 2005 "Who you wanted to have as your Valentine" poll.
    • She was voted 10th favorite member in the 2007 Hello! Project Music Awards Event.[41]
    • She ranked #18 in CDTV's February 2008 "Which artists would you have as a girlfriend/lover?" poll.
    • She was voted 9th favorite member in the 2008 Hello! Project Music Awards Event.[42]
    • She was voted 5th favorite member in the 2009 Hello! Project Music Awards Event.[43]
    • She was voted 10th favorite member in the 2010 Hello! Project Music Awards Event.[44]
    • She was voted 4th favorite member in the 2011 Hello! Project Music Awards Event.[45]
    • She was voted 9th favorite member in the 2012 Hello! Project Music Awards Event.[46]


    • She is the youngest member and the last to graduate of the 5th generation.
    • She held the record for longest serving member of Hello! Project (and also Morning Musume), until 6th generation member Michishige Sayumi took the spot on October 12th, 2013.
    • Prior to joining Morning Musume, Niigaki was a finalist out of 1,000 entrants in the Kiss Girl Audition to become the new Tomy image girl, held by TV Tokyo's Oha Suta program. She appeared in a commercial with the other finalist, Hasegawa Ai, for Tomy Karaoke Machine Kiss-site, but ultimately lost out the Grand Prix prize to Hasegawa (ironically, Niigaki later starred in a commercial for the same company as a part of Morning Musume).
    • Niigaki did some work as a magazine model since spring 2000.
    • In a Jpop Wave interview, she said that her favorite KPOP artists are BoA, Se7en and TVXQ.
    • On August 26, 2011, Niigaki and Takahashi Ai reached 10 years in Morning Musume.
    • Niigaki and Takahashi held the joint record for longest tenures as members of the group. They also participated in the most number of Morning Musume singles, with 35. She later surpassed Takahashi and participated in the most singles of any Morning Musume member, with 37 until 6th generation member Michishige Sayumi surpassed the record with 38.
    • Niigaki was the youngest member ever to become sub-leader, being only 18 at the time, until member Fukumura Mizuki was assigned sub-leader at age 16.
    • Goto Maki called her "NiiNii".
    • She is allergic to cats and pollen.
    • Her shoe size is 37.
    • Has said that the song that gets her fired up at concerts is "HOW DO YOU LIKE JAPAN? ~Nihon wa Donna Kanji Dekka?~" and the song that fits her perfectly is "Shanimuni Paradise".
    • Her opinions of the characters of the other Morning Musume members are the following:
    • The other members' opinions on Niigaki's character are the following:
      • Takahashi: Reliable person.
      • Kamei: Sparkling!
      • Michishige: Nice!!
      • Tanaka: Reliable.
      • Kusumi: Reliable.
      • Mitsui: Reliable.
      • Junjun: Hardworking.
      • Linlin: Green princess!
    • She was the last remaining member in Morning Musume and Hello! Project that joined before Hello! Project Kids.
    • In 2011, she said that if she could become another Hello! Project member that she would become Sayashi Riho or Suzuki Kanon, because she wants to see what it's like to be young again.
    • Ikuta Erina said that if she could become another member of Hello! Project, that she would be Niigaki.
    • In Yorosen!, she taught Morning Musume about coming-of-age celebrations.
    • In Japan Files comments for 10 MY ME, all members said that Niigaki is the best rapper of Morning Musume.
    • Niigaki is the only member to have ever been once the youngest member, and become leader of Morning Musume and the oldest member of Hello! Project.
    • It was shown on Hello Pro! TIME that she was learning Korean.
    • She announced her graduation on January 2, 2012 at Hello! Project 2012 WINTER Hello☆Pro Tengoku ~Rock-chan~ after being leader for only three months and two days.
    • She has the third shortest tenure as the leader, the first being Fujimoto Miki, and the second being Yaguchi Mari.
    • She is the fourth Morning Musume and Hello! Project member to graduate at Nippon Bukodan, the first being Ichii Sayaka, second being Ishikawa Rika, and third being Takahashi Ai.
    • She is sometimes called Mame-chan (bean) due to her small face.
    • She named Abe Natsumi as the Morning Musume member she admired the most. Stated in Ongaku Senshi MUSIC FIGHTER that when she was young she asked her mother to cut her hair like Abe's which, according to Niigaki, made her looked like "Gegege no Kitaro" instead, leaving her traumatized.
    • In March 2012, her "Baba-chan" (grandma) passed away.
    • She recently transferred her blog from Oricon to Ameba. Until then she was the only Morning Musume member to have an Oricon blog.
    • Her grandparents are from Okinawa.
    • She is the seventh Morning Musume member to graduate from both Morning Musume and Hello! Project. The first being Fukuda Asuka, the second being Ishiguro Aya, the third being Ichii Sayaka, the fourth being Kusumi Koharu, the fifth being Kamei Eri, Junjun, and Linlin and the sixth being Takahashi Ai.
    • She said when she thinks of China she thinks of Junjun and Linlin.
    • In a Hello! Morning episode, she was called the greediest member of Morning Musume.
    • Niigaki had her first kiss during the Zettai Kareshi stage play in March 2013.

    Honorary Titles[]

    Honorary Titles
    Preceded by
    Kago Ai
    Youngest member of Hello! Project
    October 2001 – July 2003
    Succeeded by
    Tanaka Reina
    Preceded by
    Kago Ai
    Youngest member of Morning Musume
    2001 – 2003
    Succeeded by
    Tanaka Reina
    Preceded by
    Kago Ai
    Youngest member of Tanpopo
    2002 – 2002
    Succeeded by
    Okai Chisato
    Preceded by
    Takahashi Ai
    Sub-leader of Morning Musume
    2007 – 2011
    Succeeded by
    Fukumura Mizuki and Iikubo Haruna
    Preceded by
    Leader of Athena & Robikerottsu
    2007 – 2008
    Succeeded by
    Preceded by
    Yaguchi Mari
    Oldest Member of ZYX-α
    2009 – 2011
    Succeeded by
    Preceded by
    Longest serving sub-leader of Morning Musume
    2009 – 2017
    Succeeded by
    Iikubo Haruna
    Preceded by
    Takahashi Ai
    Leader of Morning Musume
    2011 – 2012
    Succeeded by
    Michishige Sayumi
    Preceded by
    Takahashi Ai
    Oldest member of Morning Musume
    2011 – 2012
    Succeeded by
    Michishige Sayumi
    Preceded by
    Takahashi Ai
    Leader of Hello! Project
    2011 – 2012
    Succeeded by
    Michishige Sayumi
    Preceded by
    Takahashi Ai
    Oldest member of Hello! Project
    2011 – 2012
    Succeeded by
    Michishige Sayumi
    Preceded by
    Takahashi Ai
    Longest serving member of Morning Musume
    2012 – 2013
    Succeeded by
    Michishige Sayumi


    1. Official Gekijyo Page
    2. "映画決定!!" (in Japanese). Niigaki Risa Official Blog. 2014-04-23.
    3. "映画「ブラック・フィルム」完成披露上映イベント決定!!!" (in Japanese). Niigaki Risa Official Blog. 2014-12-01.
    4. "☆テレビ出演情報☆" (in Japanese). Niigaki Risa Official Blog. 2015-09-30.
    5. "舞台「暁のヨナ」ヨナ役は新垣里沙!松下優也、北村諒、木村達成も出演" (in Japanese). natalie. 2015-10-20.
    6. "『ロマサガ3』が舞台化! ハリードやカタリナ、エレンらのキャストが発表、2017年4月より全国4都市で上演" (in Japanese). 2016-12-01.
    7. https://twitter.com/suama_sweetnam/status/873064260523261958
    8. "BiSH / JAM[OFFICIAL VIDEO]" (in Japanese). avex (via YouTube). 2018-02-02.
    9. "BiSH「JAM」ミュージックビデオに、新垣里沙が出演! " (in Japanese). J.P ROOM. 2018-02-05.
    10. "Hello ! Project 20th Anniversary Celebration." Japan Expo Paris. 2018-06-28.
    11. https://twitter.com/japanexpo_en/status/1012349907980578823
    12. https://twitter.com/cbc_chant/status/1105743488023293952
    13. https://instagram.com/hamchancawaiigram?igshid=1d5jq2sfc8f4k
    14. "【更新】2020年3月 主演舞台 オフィス上の空プロデュース「共骨」出演" (in Japanese). J.P ROOM. 2020-12-19.
    15. "★ファンクラブ会員限定イベント★「新垣里沙ファンクラブイベント」開催決定!" (in Japanese). M-line club. 2020-07-01.
    16. "ご報告。" (in Japanese). Niigaki Risa Official Blog. 2020-08-01.
    17. "新垣里沙に関するご報告" (in Japanese). J.P ROOM. 2020-08-01.
    18. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NUpJ91qyqk
    19. Niigaki Risa. "" (in Japanese). Niigaki Risa Official Blog. 2012-05-16.
    20. "大切な人" (in Japanese). Niigaki Risa Official Blog. 2012-03-15.
    21. "家族増えた(*^^*)" (in Japanese). Niigaki Risa Official Blog. 2017-01-28.
    22. https://www.instagram.com/p/BPywXwHh3Eb/
    23. "御報告" (in Japanese). Niigaki Risa Official Blog. 2016-06-13. (Archived)
    24. "元モー娘。新垣里沙が7月に結婚 お相手は俳優の小谷嘉一" (in Japanese). ORICON STYLE. 2016-06-13.
    25. "指輪っ♡" (in Japanese). Niigaki Risa Official Blog. 2016-07-13.
    26. "結婚パーティー" (in Japanese). Niigaki Risa Official Blog. 2016-10-24. (Archived)
    27. "お ま け" (in Japanese). Takahashi Ai Official Blog. 2016-10-24.
    28. "後輩ちゃんそしてVTR" (in Japanese). Niigaki Risa Official Blog. 2016-10-24. (Archived)
    29. "披露宴 本番っ" (in Japanese). Niigaki Risa Official Blog. 2016-10-24. (Archived)
    30. "披露宴 レポート" (in Japanese). Niigaki Risa Official Blog. 2016-11-24. (Archived)
    31. "HAPPY WEDDING" (in Japanese). Takahashi Ai Official Blog. 2016-11-24.
    32. "In Hawaii !!!!!" (in Japanese). Niigaki Risa Official Blog. 2017-02-28. (Archived)
    33. "いよいよ挙式" (in Japanese). Niigaki Risa Official Blog. 2017-03-02. (Archived)
    34. "ご報告" (in Japanese). Niigaki Risa Official Blog. 2018-01-05.
    35. "ご報告" (in Japanese). Kotani Yoshikazu Official Blog. 2018-01-05.
    36. https://twitter.com/risa1020rr/status/1542432851052081152?s=21
    37. Mecha-Mecha Iketeru!. 2003-04-05.
    38. "みんな" (in Japanese). Niigaki Risa Official Blog. 2012-02-27.
    39. Promotional Goods
    40. "【紀伊國屋ホール】 水木英昭プロデュース公演「蘇州夜曲」(2019年11月17日~11月24日)" (in Japanese). Kinokuniya.
    41. http://www.esrp2.jp/hpma/2007/youarenotalone/member.htm
    42. http://www.esrp2.jp/hpma/2008/youcannotadvance/member.htm
    43. http://www.esrp2.jp/hpma/2009/youcannotadvance/member.html
    44. http://www.esrp2.jp/hpma/2010/result/member.html
    45. http://www.esrp2.jp/hpma/2011/result/member.html
    46. http://www.esrp2.jp/hpma/2012/result/member.html

    External Links[]