This article is about history of Morning Musume
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 Yuko, 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.
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 Yuko 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 Iida Kaori, Ishiguro Aya, and Yaguchi Mari. Tanpopo touted slower, more mature songs.
1999 kicked off with the group's fourth single Memory Seishun no Hikari, failing to hit #1 but managing to snag #2 on Oricon. The song contained a rap section and intense vocal harmonization on the girls parts. Fukuda Asuka later announced this would be her last single coming as a surprise. She had the shortest tenure of any Morning Musume member. She got her own solo song as the 3rd track on the single.
Manatsu no Kousen was released in May and has 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. Abe Natsumi sang the entire song, 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 Goto Maki's first single and Ishiguro Aya's last. Its wild success dramatically increased the popularity of the group.
Soon Goto was paired with Yasuda Kei and Ichii Sayaka to form the subgroup Petitmoni. Petitmoni's first single, "Chokotto Love," rivaled the success of "Love Machine," selling over 1,123,610 copies.
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". Ishiguro Aya 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 boasted Goto Maki 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 Nozomi and Kago Ai. After their debut single, Happy Summer Wedding, (continuing the legacy of #1 hits with 1,370,000 copies sold,). Ichii Sayaka graduated to pursue her own music career. She became the vocalist of Japanese group Cubic Cross and later married fellow member Yoshizawa Naoki (who has no relation to Yoshizawa Hitomi).
With Ishiguro Aya and Ichii Sayaka gone, both Tanpopo and Petitmoni revised their lineups—Yoshizawa Hitomi joined Petitmoni, and Kago Ai and Ishikawa Rika were added to Tanpopo. Meanwhile, Yaguchi Mari had started performing informally with Kago Ai and Tsuji Nozomi 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 Ren'ai Revolution 21 (Nakazawa Yuko'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-.
Morning Musume was featured in a game called Space Venus. In April 2001, group leader Nakazawa Yuko 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 Iida Kaori and Yasuda Kei Morning Musume's co-leaders. During this time, the Ishikawa Rika 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 Ishikawa Rika 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, filmed from 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 "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 Yoshizawa Hitomi as the central focus and main vocalist of the song. The single sold over half a million copies.
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 Goto Maki'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 "Ren'ai 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 Goto Maki and a mass re-shuffle of the sub-units. Tsunku removed Iida Kaori, Yaguchi Mari, and Kago Ai from Tanpopo, adding in Konno Asami, Niigaki Risa, and Shibata Ayumi of Melon Kinenbi to join Ishikawa Rika. Tanpopo only released one single with this lineup before the group was put on an indefinite hiatus status. Ogawa Makoto and Kimura Ayaka of Coconuts Musume joined Yoshizawa Hitomi in Petitmoni to replace Yasuda Kei and Goto Maki. However, the group did release a single, and only performed in concerts. Their song "Wow Wow Wow" was later released on the Hello! Project's compilation CD Petit Best 4. In Minimoni, Yaguchi Mari was replaced by Takahashi Ai and the new lineup went on to put out several singles and a second album until member Mika Todd graduated in May 2004, adding Minimoni 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.
The unique child-like tune Morning Musume no Hyokkori Hyoutanjima 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. It was the last time a Morning Musume single got #1 until "Aruiteru" (released late 2006). This single was also the last for Yasuda Kei.
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 Yasuda Kei and Abe Natsumi as full members of the group. It was also the first Morning Musume studio album to feature a former member, as Goto Maki 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 Fujimoto Miki as part of the sixth generation. Their debut concert was also Yasuda Kei'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.
Yaguchi Mari 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 Sakura Gumi, which focused on slower and more traditional love songs, included Abe Natsumi, Yaguchi Mari, Yoshizawa Hitomi, Kago Ai, Takahashi Ai, Niigaki Risa, Konno Asami and Kamei Eri. Morning Musume Otome Gumi, which had more upbeat pop songs with a slight rock flavor, featured Iida Kaori, Ishikawa Rika, Tsuji Nozomi, Ogawa Makoto, Fujimoto Miki, Michishige Sayumi, and Tanaka Reina. 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 Yuujou ~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.
In January 2004, Abe Natsumi (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 Tsuji Nozomi and Kago Ai 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 Houkago, a ballad that featured Ishikawa Rika, Konno Asami, and Michishige Sayumi.
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 Kago Ai, Tsuji Nozomi, Iida Kaori, Yaguchi Mari, and Ishikawa Rika's last credited studio album.
On January 30, 2005 - then-leader and the last member from the first generation Iida Kaori graduated to pursue a solo singer/artist career, with Yaguchi Mari taking on leadership role with Yoshizawa Hitomi as sub-leader. 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 Yaguchi Mari with Shun Oguri (scheduled to be published in a gossip magazine Friday! on the 15th). 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 Yoshizawa Hitomi took over as the leader of Morning Musume, and Fujimoto Miki became sub-leader as of July 15, 2005.
Just days after Yaguchi Mari 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 Ishikawa Rika's last. She graduated on May 7, 2005 to assume full-time leadership of the Hello! Project trio known as v-u-den.
Kusumi Koharu'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 Nakazawa Yuko, Iida Kaori, Abe Natsumi, Yasuda Kei, Yaguchi Mari, Goto Maki, Ishikawa Rika, Tsuji Nozomi, and Kago Ai 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 Mari's first since leaving Morning Musume eight and a half months earlier
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 Hitomi, Fujimoto Miki, and Takahashi Ai represented the group to accept the award.
In February, the group released their seventh studio album, Rainbow 7. It was the first album for Kusumi Koharu and the last for Konno Asami and Ogawa Makoto. The album features "The Manpower!!!," "Osaka Koi no Uta," "Iroppoi Jirettai," and "Chokkan 2 ~Nogashita Sakana wa Ookiizo!~" (in a remixed form). Iida Kaori, Yaguchi Mari, and Ishikawa Rika 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 Konno Asami and Ogawa Makoto were going to graduate. Konno Asami graduated on July 23, 2006 to attend University and Ogawa Makoto graduated on August 27, 2006 to study English abroad. Both left Morning Musume, but only Konno Asami left Hello! Project entirely; Ogawa Makoto 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 Asami 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 Makoto, on the other hand, returned in June 2008 by appearing on an episode of Morning Musume's television show Haromoni@.
Konno Asami and Ogawa Makoto'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 the single clocked in as Morning Musume's lowest-selling yet.
In mid-2006, the group performed the musical Ribbon no Kishi. Ai Takahashi Ai 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 Makoto's real "graduation concert"—the Wonderful Hearts 2006 concert was initially intended for Konno Asami's graduation only, although Ogawa Makoto 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 Mitsui Aika. 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."
In early 2007, Morning Musume Tanjou 10nen Kinentai, a unit consisting of Iida Kaori, Abe Natsumi, Goto Maki, Niigaki Risa, and Kusumi Koharu, 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-numbered generation (Iida Kaori and Abe Natsumi from the first generation, Goto Maki from the third, Niigaki Risa from the fifth, and Kusumi Koharu 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 Yoshizawa Hitomi 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 Hitomi'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 Hitomi'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 Mitsui Aika and the last album for Yoshizawa Hitomi and Fujimoto Miki. 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, Yoshizawa Hitomi graduated. Fujimoto Miki took her place as leader and Takahashi Ai replaced Fujimoto as sub-leader.
As of June 1, 2007, Fujimoto Miki resigned from Morning Musume, due to the tabloid magazine Friday running an article depicting Fujimoto and comedian Tomoharu Shoji in a relationship. Takahashi Ai replaced Fujimoto as leader (a position the latter occupied for the briefest period in the band's history—26 days), and Niigaki Risa became sub-leader.
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, Takahashi Ai, Niigaki Risa, and Kusumi Koharu visited Korea to promote their singles collection album Morning Musume ALL SINGLES COMPLETE ~10th ANNIVERSARY~, which was released on October 24, 2007. Takahashi and Niigaki also 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 at a country 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 ℃-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.
Takahashi Ai, Kamei Eri, Michishige Sayumi, and Tanaka Reina 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 Mitsui Aika 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. Takahashi Ai starred in the main role of Cinderella, with Niigaki Risa as the Prince, and Kamei Eri and Tanaka Reina 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 Hyoutanjima"), 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".
2008 was the first year in which there were no changes in Morning Musume's lineup.
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 most recent single "Shouganai Yume Oibito".
Morning Musume released their 39th single, Shouganai 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 Mitsui Aika, Junjun, and Linlin.
Following the success of "Shouganai Yume Oibito", the group released their 40th single Nanchatte Ren'ai on August 12th, which is their third single in 2009. At the same time, with "Nanchatte Ren'ai" 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 Ren'ai" 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 Ren'ai", Morning Musume released 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. Her graduation marked the end of Morning Musume's longest lasting line-up.
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.
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, was 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 Kamei Eri, along with 8th Generation members Junjun and Linlin 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.
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. This is the last single to feature Kamei Eri, Junjun and Linlin.
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: Nakazawa Yuko, Iida Kaori, Abe Natsumi, Yasuda Kei, Yaguchi Mari, Ishikawa Rika, Yoshizawa Hitomi, Ogawa Makoto, Fujimoto Miki, and Kusumi Koharu. They will release an album titled "Dreams. 1" which will consist of two new songs, as well as remakes of older Morning Musume songs.
On January 2, 2011, 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. Fukumura Mizuki is a former Hello! Pro Kenshuusei and former member of Shugo Chara Egg!. Sayashi Riho and Suzuki Kanon 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 of Morning Musume will be Niigaki Risa.
The ninth generation's debut single is Maji Desu ka Ska!, 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.
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, Takahashi Ai's last single with Morning Musume after a tenure of 10 years with the group. In order to celebrate Takahashi Ai'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, the Limited B version of the single had a solo song by Takahashi for her graduation as a B-side. The single name is Kono Chikyuu no Heiwa wo Honki de Negatterun da yo!/Kare to Issho ni Omise ga Shitai!. Takahashi Ai's solo song was revealed to be titled: Jishin Motte Yume Motte Tobitatsu Kara.
Morning Musume's fall tour has revealed to be called, "Ai Believe." It has also been revealed that Takahashi Ai 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 since the 5th generation auditions. This made them the members to be in Morning Musume the longest.
The tenth generation members were introduced on September 29th. Iikubo Haruna, Ishida Ayumi, Sato Masaki, and Kudo Haruka were introduced the day before. Then leader Takahashi Ai graduated and the tenth generation appeared again to give their graduation messages to Takahashi Ai and sing with the existing members. Their addition makes the group stand at 12 members, the largest the group has been since 2005. Once Takahashi Ai graduated, she passed leadership of both Morning Musume and Hello! Project to Niigaki Risa, her fellow and only remaining 5th generation member. This now makes Niigaki Risa the longest serving member of the group and the 1st member to go from youngest in the group at entering to becoming leader.
It was said that Michishige Sayumi would become sub-leader because she is now the second oldest, but there were discussions about the situation. Tanaka Reina is younger but would fit the title "sub-leader" better. Tsunku knew there would come discussions about this, so he decided there would be no sub-leader for now. Neither Michishige Sayumi nor Tanaka Reina is now sub-leader.
Former member Takahashi Ai, is now part of the M-Line.
On January 2, it was announced that Niigaki Risa will be graduating from Morning Musume and Hello! Project on the last day of their Spring Concert Tour, May 18, 2012. She will be passing the leadership of Morning Musume and Hello! Project to Michishige Sayumi.
On January 5, Morning Musume lost the record of having the highest overall single sales (of a female group) on the Oricon charts to AKB48. They are currently tied with the most no.1 singles.
On January 25, Pyocopyoco Ultra was released, in its first week it reached 3 on the Oricon charts and sold 31,094 copies, although it beat "Mikan"'s first week sales it became their lowest selling single selling only 33,718 copies.
On April 11, 2012 Ren'ai Hunter was released. It successfully hit number 1 and it's been a while since Shouganai Yume Oibito in 2009.
On May 4, 2012, it was announced that Mitsui Aika will be graduating from Morning Musume along with Niigaki Risa on May 18, 2012, the last day of their Spring Concert Tour, at the Nippon Budokan. Her reason for graduation is due to the possibility of the stress fracture in her left ankle from last year may happened again if she continue with her activity in Morning Musume. She discussed with her family and the staff of UFA about it and they decided it would be best not to delay her health any longer thus chose the closest date for graduation. After her graduation, she would be discussing with UFA staff about what possible activities she could do in Hello! Project.
On May 18, 2012, at Morning Musume Concert Tour 2012 Haru Ultra Smart ~Niigaki Risa Mitsui Aika Graduation Special~, Niigaki Risa Graduated from Morning Musume and Hello! Project and Mitsui Aika Graduated from Morning Musume at the Nippon Budokan. On the same date, Michishige Sayumi was sworn in as Morning Musume 8th Leader succeeding Niigaki Risa as well as the Morning Musume Eleventh Generation Audtions tited: Morning Musume 11th Generation ~Suppin Utahime~ Auditions (Morning Musume 11th Generation Auditions ~Make-Up Less, Song-Stress~ Auditions) were to begin. Tsunku said he is: "focusing more on the talents that will be present at this year’s auditions instead of the looks of the members." The application deadline is June 25, 2012. Girls aged 10-17 years will be allowed to audtion.
On May 26, 2012, Morning Musume was one the special artist to perform at Girls Award 2012 Spring/Summer collection ~All you need is LOVE~ event at Yoyogi Stadium along side names as ICONIQ, Kato Miliyah and Korean Pop Group Wonder Girls.
On July 4, Morning Musume's 50th single, One•Two•Three/The Matenrou Show was released, and sold 56,139 copies on its first day, charting at #2. These first day sales surpassed the first week sales of all Morning Musume singles since 'Iroppoi Jirettai' in 2005. The single came in 7 editions: Regular, Limited A and Limited B (featuring 6th Generation), Limited C and D (featuring 9th Generation) and Limited E and Limited F (featuring 10th Generation). The Limited A, B, C, D, E and F had tracks featuring the respective generations.
Two of Morning Musume members Ikuta Erina and Iikubo Haruna changed their official color from Dark Purple and Chocolate to Light Green and Honey.
On September 14, at Morning Musume's 15th Anniversary Concert Tour Rehearsal, that Hello! Pro Kenshuusei Member, Oda Sakura passed the 11th Generation Auditions, making her the sole 11th Generation member. Oda will start official Morning Musume duties in January 2013 at the Hello! Project 2013 Winter Concert, after Morning Musume's 15th Anniversary Concert Tour.
On November 18, it was announced that Tanaka Reina would be graduating from both Morning Musume and Hello! Project to focus on her new band. Her graduation ceremony will take place at their spring concert tour, Morning Musume Concert Tour 2013 Haru Michishige☆Eleven SOUL ~Tanaka Reina Graduation Special~ in May. It was determined that next in line for sub leadership will be Fukumura Mizuki once Tanaka Reina graduates.On December 11, Morning Musume announced their 52nd single. Help me!! is set to be released on the same date stated by the rumor, January 23, 2013.
Morning Musume's 52nd single would be called "Help me!!" was released on January 23, 2013, and was the first single to feature eleventh-generation member Sakura Oda. It was Morning Musume's first single since "Shouganai Yume Oibito" in 2009 to achieve the weekly number 1 spot on the Oricon charts. On February 28, a loose shot[clarification needed] version of a new song titled "Brainstorming" was posted onto YouTube, a few days later a dance shot version of another new song titled "Kimi Sae Ireba Nani mo Iranai" was also posted. It was then confirmed that both tracks would be released as a double A-side single on April 17.
On March 16, Tsunku announced the twelfth-generation audition, called 'Morning Musume Mirai Shoujo audition'. On August 4, he announced that no one had passed the audition. He stated that this was partly due to the level of talent being lower than necessary, and partly due to the recent success of the current line-up. All audition finalists were accepted into the Hello!Project Kenshuusei program.
Morning Musume '14 and the 12th generation Edit
On January 1, Morning Musume began the new year with their new group name, Morning Musume '14. On January 21, Tsunku announced at the au Presentation Spring 2014 that Morning Musume would be part of a commercial along with comedians Morisanchuu, forming a new unit called Morimusu. On January 29, Morning Musume '14 released their 55th single, "Egao no Kimi wa Taiyo sa / Kimi no Kawari wa Iyashinai / What is Love?". This was their first single released as Morning Musume '14. The single peaked at number 1 on the Oricon charts, becoming their fourth number 1 single in a row – the longest streak of number ones in the group's history. In February, Morning Musume cheered and sang an official song produced by Tsunku, titled "Kimi no Kawari wa Iyashinai", for the 2014 Sochi Olympics Japanese Team.
On April 16, Morning Musume '14 released their 56th single, "Toki o Koe Sora wo Koe / Password is 0", which also peaked at number 1 on the Oricon weekly chart. On April 29, during the Morning Musume '14 Concert Tour Haru: Evolution concert held in Yamaguchi, Sayumi Michishige announced that she would be leaving the group at their fall 2014 concert tour. On August 16, it was announced that the last date of the tour would take place on November 26, 2014 at Yokohama Arena.
The 12th-generation members were officially revealed on September 30. They were Haruna Ogata, Miki Nonaka, Maria Makino, and Akane Haga.
On October 15, Morning Musume '14 released their 57th single, "Tiki Bun / Shabadaba Dū / Mikaeri Bijin". It was the final single featuring sixth-generation member Sayumi Michishige. On November 26, Michishige left Morning Musume during the concert "Aki Give Me More Love: Michishige Sayumi Sotsugyo Kinen Special". Mizuki Fukumura was appointed new leader and Erina Ikuta joined Haruna Iikubo as sub-leader.
Morning Musume '15 Edit
On January 1, 2015 Morning Musume '14 changed their name to Morning Musume '15. Announced on February 9, 2015, Morning Musume '15 performed the "Ima Koko Kara" (イマココカラ?, Starting From Here) for the Pretty Cure All Stars: Spring Carnivalmovie that aired a month later. Haruna Iikubo, Ayumi Ishida, and Sakura Oda provide their voices in the movie for the role of a trio of spirits that they designed themselves. On February 14, 2015, it was announced that Haruna Iikubo would be the official mentor to the 12th generation, bringing back the mentor system.. On October 29, 2015, it was announced that Sayashi Riho will be graduated from Morning Musume '15 on December 31, 2015 during the countdown live. In October 2015, YouTube blocked UP-FRONT GROUP Co., Ltd.'s videos and related videos in many Western countries including the United States due to YouTube Red contract issues. (UP-FRONT GROUP Co., Ltd is the holdings company involved in Hello Project and Morning Musume.) The issue was later resolved when UP-FRONT worked out a solution with YouTube.
Morning Musume ’15 released their new single "Tsumetai Kaze to Katamoi / ENDLESS SKY / One and Only" on 29th December 2015. It is a triple A-side single and was Riho’s last single as a member of Morning Musume ’15. "One and Only" was the first Morning Musume song to be sung completely in English.
Morning Musume '16 and the 13th generation Edit
On January 1, 2016, Morning Musume '15 was renamed Morning Musume '16. On January 2, Morning Musume '16 Shinseiki Audition was announced during the Hello! Project 2016 WINTER ~DANCING! SINGING! EXCITING!~ concert, to look for the 13th Generation members. In March, Morning Musume had their first concert with the new name. On February 7, Kanon Suzuki announced she will graduate from Morning Musume '16 and Hello! Project at the end of the Morning Musume '16 Spring Concert Tour Haru ~EMOTION IN MOTION~. On February 26 to February 28, 2016, Morning Musume '16 were main guests at Anime Matsuri in Houston, Texas to celebrate the convention's 10th anniversary. Morning Musume '16 released their 61st single "Utakata Saturday Night! / The Vision / Tokyo to Iu Katasumi". It is Kanon Suzuki's last single as a member of Morning Musume. On May 31, Kanon Suzuki graduated at the end of the spring conert tour in Nippon Budokan. On May 31, it was announced that no one had passed the Shinseiki audition, but as announced on June 15, 2016, it is being re-held. Morning Musume '16 has been invited to perform during the TV Tokyo Music Festival(3) on June 29, and NTV's THE MUSIC DAY Natsu no Hajimari on July 2.
On November 23, Morning Musume '16 released their 62nd single, Sexy Cat no Enzetsu / Mukidashi de Mukiatte / Sou Janai. Morning Musume '16 will appear during the second night of Fuji TV's 2016 FNS Kayousai on December 14, performing in an "Idol Shuffle Medley" with other idol groups including ℃-ute.
On November 23 at the Morning Musume '16 Concert Tour Aki ~MY VISION~ concert in Osaka, the group announced that the 13th generation would be selected from Hello Pro Kenshuusei and announced at the Nippon Budokan tour finale on December 12. The audition administrator later released an official statement on the Hello! Project website explaining that the winner(s) would be chosen from Hello Pro Kenshuusei because, once again, no suitable candidates were found from the general audition. The 13th Generation members were officially revealed on December 12. They are two former Hello!Pro Kenshuusei members Kaede Kaga and Reina Yokoyama. The 13th Generation was the first in the groups' history to have only two members.
On December 31, the group will perform on TV for the first time as the Morning Musume '17 line-up during the CDTV Special! Toshikoshi Premier Live 2016→2017. The performance will be pre-recorded on December 30, which Sato Masaki will be unable to participate due to her lower back injury.
Morning Musume '17 Edit
On January 1, Morning Musume '16 will change their name to Morning Musume '17.
On January 12, it was announced that Morning Musume '17 would collaborate with Marukome by singing a remake of "Morning Coffee" titled "Morning Misoshiru" to promote the company's new miso soup product of the same name. it was also announced that Haruka Kudo would be the official mentor to the 13th generation.
Morning Musume '17 will form a collaborative unit with HKT48 member Rino Sashihara named Sashining Musume. They will sing the track "Get you!" released in Type-A of AKB48's 8th album Thumbnail on January 25.
On January 26th it was announced that Morning Musume'17 would release their 63rd single titled BRAND NEW MORNING / Jealousy Jealousy on March 8th 2017.
On February 21, it was announced Morning Musume '17 would have their own show on TV Tokyo called Tokugi☆Saikenshou Momusu DE Gozaru! beginning on March 8. The program will show off and verify each members' special skill listed on their official profile.
On March 12, Morning Musume '17 will perform in the SKY PerfecTV! Ongakusai 2017.
On March 25, it was announced that Morning Musume '17 and ANGERME would be featured in the web service game titled Hello! Project Hina Fest "Idol Nama Gassen" ~Kunitori Tenka Touitsu Hen~, for which a "live battle" event will be held on April 16.
On April 10, Morning Musume '17 was appointed the official Ouen Taishi, or Cheer Ambassadors, of the "Ceka Paka PLAY DREAM CAMPAIGN" for the Nihon Seimei Ce-Pa Koryusen (the Nippon Professional Baseball interleague) that would begin on May 30. Fukumura Mizuki would be the leader of the whole campaign while the other 12 members would each support one of the 12 teams, and each member would have their own type of dance movie that would be shown at their team's home stadium.
On April 29, during the daytime show of Morning Musume '17 Concert Tour Haru ~THE INSPIRATION!~, 10th generation member Kudo Haruka made a sudden announcement that she will be graduating from Morning Musume '17 and Hello! Project at the end of their fall 2017 tour.
Morning Musume '17 will perform in the TV Tokyo Ongakusai 2017 on June 28 and Nippon TV's THE MUSIC DAY Negai ga Kanau Natsu on July 1.
As part of their collaboration with marukome, Morning Musume '17 will begin airing a weekly 5-minute radio program titled marukome Morning Misoshiru Koeru yo! on July 1 across 38 stations.
In Late June, Morito Chisaki joinned Morning Musume '17 as the 14th Generation.
Morning Musume '17 performed in the TV Tokyo Ongakusai 2017 on June 28 and Nippon TV's THE MUSIC DAY Negai ga Kanau Natsu on July 1.
As part of their collaboration with marukome, Morning Musume '17 began airing a weekly 5-minute radio program titled marukome Morning Misoshiru Koeru yo! on July 1 across 38 stations.
On July 15, Morning Musume '17 appeared with new member Morito Chisaki on TBS's Ongaku no Hi 2017 in two pre-recorded performances. Their first performance was solo, and the second was as a special Hello! Project unit with a selection of members from ANGERME, Kobushi Factory, and Tsubaki Factory.
On October 4, they released Morito Chisaki's debut single and Kudo Haruka's last, titled "Jama Shinai de Here We Go! / Dokyuu no Go Sign / Wakain da shi!".
On November 3, a remake of Morning Musume's demo single, titled "Ai no Tane (20th Anniversary Ver.)", was digitally released exactly 20 years after the original. The remake is sung by the original five members and Morning Musume '17 as a special anniversary unit named Morning Musume 20th.
As part of their 20th anniversary celebrations, Morning Musume '17 opened a limited time café named "20 Nenme no Morning Coffee ~Morning Musume 20th ANNIVERSARY CAFE~" at AREA-Q in Harajuku, Tokyo from November 3 to December 10. In addition, the group will collaborate with HMV&BOOKS SHIBUYA to open the "Morning Musume museum -Morning Musume Tanjou 20 Shuunen Kinen-" on the store's 6th floor from November 24 to December 24. The museum will later open at HMV Sakae in Aichi, Nagoya on December 30 through to January 28, 2018.
Morning Musume '17 performed "Jealousy Jealousy" solo and "LOVE Machine" with Johnny's boy band Sexy Zone at NTV's BEST ARTIST 2017 on November 28.
On November 30, Morning Musume '17 released the digital single "Gosenfu no Tasuki" in honor of their anniversary.
On December 6, they released their 15th original album, titled ⑮ Thank you, too.
On December 10, they were the surprise guests at the Dai 7kai AKB48 Kouhaku Taikou Utagassen and performed "One・Two・Three". HKT48's Sashihara Rino then joined them on stage for "Utakata Saturday Night!" and their Sashining Musume song "Get you!".
On December 11, Kudo Haruka graduated at Nippon Budokan.
For the second night of Fuji TV's 2017 FNS Kayousai on December 13, Morning Musume '17 performed "Jealousy Jealousy" and a collaboration with Kato Hifumi, a retired pro shogi player nicknamed "Hifumin" who has been a popular guest on variety shows. The five original members also performed "Ai no Tane (20th Anniversary Ver.)" live together for the first time in 18 years.
On January 1, Morning Musume '17 became Morning Musume '18.
On January 28, Morning Musume '18 released the digital single "Hana ga Saku Taiyou Abite".
From February 3 to March 4, the "Morning Musume museum -Morning Musume Tanjou 20 Shuunen Kinen-" was open at HMV&BOOKS HAKATA in Fukuoka. Afterwards, it will be open from March 11 to April 15 at HMV Sendai in Miyagi.
On February 12, TV Tokyo aired the Morning Musume 20 Shuunen Kinen Special starring 25 current and former members of Morning Musume: all thirteen Morning Musume '18 members and OG members Nakazawa Yuko, Iida Kaori, Ishiguro Aya, Abe Natsumi, Fukuda Asuka, Yaguchi Mari, Ishikawa Rika, Yoshizawa Hitomi, Tsuji Nozomi, Takahashi Ai, Niigaki Risa, and Michishige Sayumi. The show included a talk corner about group history, a look back at Hello! Morning, and several studio performances.
On March 14, the group attended a press conference to announce a collaboration between au and Hello! Projecttitled "Oto no VR", which will deliver 360° video and audio content for smartphones, starting with a video of Morning Musume '18 singing "I WISH". That following evening, Morning Musume '18 performed in the second part of the SKY PerfecTV! Ongakusai 2018 alongside Tsubaki Factory.
On March 27, it was announced that Ogata Haruna would graduate from Morning Musume '18 and Hello! Project at the end of the spring tour.
Their new single Are you happy / A gonna will be released on 13 June which will be the last single to feature Haruna Ogata.