Kobushi Factory’s Fujii Rio announces her graduation

Fujii Rio (18), sub-leader of Kobushi Factory (こぶしファクトリー), announced her intention to graduate from her group and Hello! Project this morning. Via a translated statement, the founding member of Kobushi Factory expressed desire to follow her childhood dream of working as a teacher or nurse. Rio, who is from Aichi, plans to graduate this summer with the Hello! Project Summer Concert Tour, which runs from July 15 in Osaka to September 2 in Hiroshima (the tour will stop in Aichi on August 26 and 27). Rio will continue activities with Kobushi Factory and participate in the “Live Tour 2017 Spring ~PROGRESSIVE~“, the 4th Kobushi Factory single release “Shalala! Yareru Hazu sa / Ee ja nai ka Ninja nai ka” (June 14), and the release of the “JK Ninja Girls” movie (July 17). Continue reading

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Kudo Haruka (Morning Musume ’17) Announces Graduation

10th generation member Kudo Haruka (17) will graduate from Morning Musume and Hello! Project this fall. From her statment’s translation, Duu (as she is affectionately called) plans to pursue acting in the future. Continuing as an idol with singing and dancing as a focus felt false to Kudo, and her plans to graduate were set in her mind quite firmly. As the Fall 2017 tour has not been set, the details of Kudo’s graduation are still unknown. Continue reading

iDOL Street Carnival 2016 ~RE:Я|LOAD~

I marked June 25 on my calender months ago for some very good reasons. That was the date of iDOL Street’s “iDOL Street Carnival 2016 6th Anniversary ~RE:Я|LOAD~”, which would be a day of tremendous change for the AVEX backed idol conglomerate. Five girls would be leaving on this day, and fans were promised a shuffle of the iDOL Street units. Nobody knew what this meant: maybe new girls, or maybe girls switched from group to group, or maybe both would happen.

Five different girls left iDOL Street as I watched the events late at night (or early in the morning) this past Saturday on the NicoNico Live stream. In particular, my much loved Suzuki Mariya from Cheeky Parade took her hiatus for further study in Los Angeles along with group mate Yamamoto Marin and GEM’s Takeda Maaya. SUPER☆GiRLS’s Arai Reira and Katsuta Rino left the idol life for good on this morning.

The night began with performances from all of iDOL Street groups. For this first part of the Street Carnival, the groups performed with the lineups to which I learned and grown accustomed. The iDOL Street Students, The World Standard, GEM, Cheeky Parade, and SUPER☆GiRLS took the stage in turn. The final three groups (GEM, ChikiPa, and SG) delivered particularly emotional performances: these few songs were their last performances with their current lineups.

The World Standard

GEM


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Suzuki Kanon- The Graduate


Details for Suzuki Kanon’s graduation concert have finally been released through the Hello! Project official website. Zukki gets a graduation on May 31, 2016 at Budokan. I think many are releived that Kanon’s graduation locale is set at the storied venue in the light of Sayashi Riho’s seemingly rushed graduation event at the “Hello! Project COUNTDOWN PARTY 2015 ~GOOD BYE & HELLO!~”. The event also relieves the worry at all future graduations would be held on the now annual Countdown Party.

In my previous article on Suzuki Kanon, I mentioned that she has never been my favorite Morning Musume member. But, I think her time and efforts in the group should be rightly rewarded with a graduation ceremony that befits her five years in the group and her part in resurrecting the once-stagnant idol group. I believe that a graduation at Budokan for Suzuki Kanon is appropriate. Hell, Morning Musume performs at Budokan on a regular basis lately. Anything smaller than Budokan for a graduation is just silly- just ask Riho.

At the moment, there is no information about Memorial videos, a Zukki bus tour, or anything of that ilk. A fan Suzuki Kanon Graduation Project materialized expectedly, and you can definitely take part in that (disclaimer: TheNumber244 is not affiliated with the project in any capacity).

Source: Hello! Project website

When the green leaves your cheeks


In a season rife with change, the latest graduation announcement comes from Hello! Project. And, it’s a big announcement. Almost as soon as the red glitter is brushed from the floor from Sayashi Riho’s graduation, another 9th generation Morning Musume graduation is announced. Suzuki Kanon leaves the group this spring. Specifically, Zukki last performance with the group will be the concluding performance of Morning Musume ’16’s “~Emotion in Motion~” tour. So far the date looks to be May 22 at the NHK Osaka Hall in Osaka, although additional dates may be added.

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Fukuda Kanon and Me


I’ve planned to write about Fukuda Kanon for a while, and now these words are reaching the void days after her graduation from S/mileage, ANGERME, and Hello! Project. My difficulty with words manifested, and I stopped and started writing about Fukuda Kanon many times now. I attribute this to the complex character that Kanon formulated . Sometimes she seemed very troll-ish and sometimes even resentful of her idol career. Reports of disinterested handshakes and cold fan interactions didn’t really help either. Why so I love this girl?

One thing seems true: Fukuda Kanon loves Hello! Project probably more than most of us. Like most of the Eggs who graduated from the early years of the program, Kanon spent half her life in the Projects. Steadfast and determined, Kanon continued her career despite slaps in her face and ample opportunity to search out greener pastures. If her resilience doesn’t indicate some degree of passion, then I’m not sure I’m passionate about anything.
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Sayashi Riho Announces Her Graduation from Morning Musume

Surely by now you’ve already heard the news. Sayashi Riho, the center of Morning Musume for the roughly the last 3 ½ years holds her graduation concert on the last day of 2015. On December 31, with all of Hello! Project in attendance at Nakano Sun Plaza, RihoRiho takes center stage for the last time. From what I understand, Sayashi had the option of graduating on the last day of the current “Morning Musume. ’15 Concert tour Aki ~ PRISM ~” on December 8 in Nippon Budokan, but instead she chose the smaller venue. Perhaps the drama of a “year-end to end all year-ends” proved too irresistible. When the time comes, Sayashi Riho will have served in Hello! Project for 1,824 days, or just shy of 5 years.

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Tweets about Sayumi’s Graduation [live tweets]

I haven’t done one of these for a while …
These tweets do a decent job of telling how I spent the EARLY morning of November 26- Michishige Sayumi’s graduation from Morning Musume. I don’t want to editorialize too much; hopefully the raw emotion of the night will come through. If nothing else, I think there are some great screen caps from the graduation.

Now, as you will read, my stream crapped out on me on several key moments. Lucky for me, this means I get to rewatch the whole thing again! You can tell when I’m getting frustrated with my internet, which is a little bit embarrassing.

I also want to acknowledge the Twitter community. I felt like I was watching the graduation with everyone who was awake and watching at the time. We had an emotional rollercoaster of a night, and I’m glad I had company. You all are great!

MOST IMPORTANT- I’d like to thank the SKE48 channel that decided to break international laws and stream the graduation. Good job!

(P.S. If you’re not following me on twitter, maybe these tweets will incentivize you? FOLLOW ME!)

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Sakura Gakuin – “My Graduation Toss”

This is strange territory for me.  I don’t actually know much about Sakura Gakuin.  From what I have gathered, they are all middle school students or younger and are under Universal Music in Japan (making them not independent idols).  I first heard of the group through their subgroup BABYMETAL (an odd mixture of idol and metal, as the name implies).  I’ll probably be talking more about BABYMETAL in the future, since I think it’s a stellar group.  Nakamoto Suzuka is graduating from Sakura Gakuin, and this is her send-off into the high school!  The song is fun, filled with exuberance, and sends Su-metal off with a burst of joy.  If you are tired of the electro-sounds of Morning Musume, this song is definitely for you.  It’s filled with live instruments playing a poppy rock sound that sounds refreshing in the current idol scene.

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