Changing the Guard


Michishige Sayumi – November 2014
Berryz Kobo- March 2015
Shimamura Uta- June 2015
Fukuda Kanon- November 2015
Sayashi Riho- December 2015
Tamura Meimi- May 2016
Suzuki Kanon- May 2016

Look at that list. This 1.5 year span from November 2014 to May 2016 sees the loss of 13 girls from Hello! Project. Some real prominent names occupy this list as well. Girls who anchor their respective group in some form suddenly drop from the scene in droves. The last time I remember such a large exodus from the projects was the Elder Club mass graduation in 2009.

I don’t think this particular batch of departures signifies anything as sweeping as the Elder Club graduation. Some key positions opened up, and it’s interesting to see who will fill the void. Let’s go down the line?


Michishige Sayumi
Sayumi makes some strong argument for the most productive Morning Musume Continue reading

Morning Musume ’15 – “One and Only” [PV]


The final A-side of Morning Musume ’15’s 60th release takes on the form of “One and Only”. A first for the group, “One and Only” is the first song by the group that features all English lyrics. The song provides the opening theme for NHK World’s “J-MELO” music program, which coincidentally heavily features the girls of Morning Musume. If you look at the song in purely utilitarian mode, it makes sense that a show presented in English would have a title song in English. Of course, there are other forces at work here. As Morning Musume prepares itself for another concert in the English speaking world, sending out an upbeat and optimistic song like “One and Only” as its ambassador makes a great deal of sense.

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Morning Musume ’15 “Tsumetai Kaze to Kataomoi” [PV]

If you read through lyrics enough you eventually start to realize that although the lyrics seem like love songs to a boy or a girl, they’re really written about something else. There’s a joke that all the love songs written in the 1980’s are really about cocaine, while the love songs of the 1990’s are all about heroin – think about that the next time you listen to Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On”. So while “Tsumetai Kaze to Kataomoi” seems like it’s written about a love interest boy or girl, Sayashi Riho and the members of Morning Musume ’15 could just as easily be singing a song of unrequited love to Morning Musume itself.


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Morning Musume ’15 – “Endless Sky” [PV]


Morning Musume ’15 is set to release their triple A-side “Tsumetai Kaze to Kataomoi / ENDLESS SKY / One and Only” on December 29- practically the eve of the graduation for one of their most talented centers. Sayashi Riho graduates on December 31 during the “Hello!Project COUNTDOWN PARTY 2015 ~ GOOD BYE & HELLO ! ~” concert. Much could probably be said about Riho’s graduation, and I hope over the next three articles I cover most of what needs to be said about the girl. As fitting with a graduation, a touch of sadness hangs at the fringe of every emotion. And, even as this song represents the optimism of such a drastic life change, the uncertainty looms just beyond the horizon.


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Christmas Idol Heaven – Young Gangan 2015 No.24


You remember Christmas Idol Heaven last year, right? Well, we got the same thing going on in 2015, with some of the more popular idols in idoldom lending their assistance. Santa’s little helpers indeed!
Let’s get things started!

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Fukumura Mizuki in Young Gangan Oct. 2, 2015 No. 19


The fall season is barely upon us, and Fuku-hime reminds us of the warmer sunnier days of the past. No complaints. Mizuki is a blessing no matter which way you look at it.


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Fukumura Mizuki, Kudo Haruka, and Ogata Haruna in Weekly Shounen Sunday

I know: everyone has been waiting to see what Haa-chin’s been keeping under wraps. Let’s just say that years of ice-skating training make for a a nice bikini body.


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