Morning Musume

Morning Musume, 4th generation

Morning Musume debuted in 1997 with five members, and has gone through many lineup and style changes through its years. They are the lead group of the idol talent agency, Hello!Project, which is made up of young female artists and groups, such as Berryz Koubou, C-ute, and Mano Erina. They are all produced by Tsunku, former vocalist of Sharan Q.

Tsunku In 1997, Tsunku held an audition on the ASAYAN talent search show to choose a female rock vocalist to join Sharan Q. Heike Michiyo won the audition, but Tsunku saw greater potential in five of the remaining contestants, so he challenged them to sell 50,000 singles in 5 days. He named them Morning Musume, and they recorded the single Ai no Tane and succeeded in selling 50,000 copies on the fourth day. He gave them a record deal and the rest is history.

Morning Musume quickly became one of Japan's top groups with their fresh faces and girl-next-door personalities. The group originally started as a 5-member group, but by their second single, three more members were added. This began a series of additions and graduations which have seen members come and go, some remaining in Hello!Project as solo artists or in other units.

In April 2000, the group began hosting a television variety show called Hello! Morning (Haromoni), which further increased the group's popularity. They became a household name and were ubiquitous in Japan: they dominated the music charts, were regularly seen promoting their new singles on popular music shows, and have a lot of merchandise available, such as photobooks and DVDs.

The number of members generally remain around the 10-14 mark - the highest was 16 for a short time in 2003. Morning Musume members often participate in sub-groups and shuffle units within Hello!Project, releasing additional singles and albums.

As of July 2017, the leader is 9th generation member Fukumura Mizuki. Currently, there are 14 members from Generations 9-14.

Members

Graduated

    1ST GENERATION
    • Nakazawa Yuko
    • Iida Kaori
    • Abe Natsumi
    • Ishiguro Aya
    • Fukuda Asuka
    2ND GENERATION
    • Yasuda Kei
    • Yaguchi Mari
    • Ichii Sayaka
    3RD GENERATION
    • Goto Maki
    4TH GENERATION
    • Kago Ai
    • Tsuji Nozomi
    • Ishikawa Rika
    • Yoshizawa Hitomi
    5TH GENERATION
    • Konno Asami
    • Ogawa Makoto
    • Takahashi Ai
    • Niigaki Risa
    6TH GENERATION
    • Fujimoto Miki
    • Kamei Eri
    • Michishige Sayumi
    • Tanaka Reina
    7TH GENERATION
    • Kusumi Koharu
    8TH GENERATION
    • Junjun
    • Linlin
    • Mitsui Aika
    9TH GENERATION
    • Sayashi Riho
    • Suzuki Kanon

Current

    9TH GENERATION
    • Fukumura Mizuki
    • Ikuta Erina
    10TH GENERATION
    • Iikubo Haruna
    • Ishida Ayumi
    • Sato Masaki
    • Kudo Haruka
    11TH GENERATION
    • Oda Sakura
    12TH GENERATION
    • Haga Akane
    • Makino Maria
    • Nonaka Miki
    • Ogata Haruna
    13TH GENERATION
    • Kaga Kaede
    • Yokoyama Reina
    14TH GENERATION
    • Morito Chisaki

Leadership

Leaders

#NameDates
01Nakazawa Yuko 1997 - 2001.04.15
02Yasuda Kei 2001.04.16 - 2003.05.05
02Iida Kaori 2001.04.16 - 2005.01.30
04Yaguchi Mari 2005.01.31 - 2005.04.14
05Yoshizawa Hitomi 2005.04.14 - 2007.05.06
06Fujimoto Miki 2007.05.07 - 2007.06.01
07Takahashi Ai 2007.06.01 - 2011.09.30
08Niigaki Risa 2011.09.30 - 2012.05.18
09Michishige Sayumi 2012.05.18 - 2014.11.26
10Fukumura Mizuki 2014.11.26 - present

Sub-Leaders

#NameDates
01Yaguchi Mari 2003.05.05 - 2005.01.30
02Yoshizawa Hitomi 2005.01.31 - 2005.04.14
03Fujimoto Miki 2005.04.14 - 2007.05.06
04Takahashi Ai 2007.05.07 - 2007.06.01
05Niigaki Risa 2007.06.01 - 2011.09.30
06Tanaka Reina 2012.05.18 - 2013.05.21
07Fukumura Mizuki 2013.05.21 - 2014.11.26
08Iikubo Haruna 2013.05.21 - present
09Ikuta Erina 2014.11.26 - present