As reported by basically every J-Pop site in the blogosphere including SH’s own early morning update, 3 members of Morning Musume are set to graduate at the end of their 2010 Fall tour. Many people have speculated that Eri would be the next logical one to go if Ai & Risa were not to leave. Jun Jun & Lin Lin were something out of left field. And with the loss of Kusumi Koharu this brings the remaining roster down to 5. And I thought C-ute getting picked apart was bad.
Here are the statements from my hero (& yours) Tsunku and the graduating members as taken from the Morning Musume MySpace page.
Big announcement from the Morning Musume。
About the graduation of Eri Kamei, 6th generation member
Eri Kamei came to me several times regarding her health condition. One time, she said to me : “I would like to find the time to cure the atopic dermatitis that I’m suffering from”. Since the time she joined the Morning Musume。, it looks like she was dealing with symptoms like itching and slight skin color changes. She took medication to calm the symptoms down and she also used make-up to cover it but during live concerts, there is a lot of sweat and many outfits to put on, which made her recovery very difficult.
Some may say it is “just a skin problem” but according to doctors, an external problem like skin problem may move to an internal level. It may as well have an impact on her spirit, her mental level. Also, for her, it is a serious thing so she decided to focus on her recovery instead of letting it continue.
Eri Kamei will graduate from the Morning Musume。 and the Hello! Project on the last day of the Morning Musume。Autumn 2010 concert tour. As for her activities after that, I intend to discuss with her after her full recovery.
About the graduation of Jun Jun and Lin Lin, 8th generation members (foreign students)
In May 2005, both of them joined the Morning Musume。as foreign students and today, while being skilled singers and entertainers, they also greatly improved their japanese proficiency and they are now grown-up women. This is why I took the decision to graduate both of them at the same time as Eri Kamei on the last day of the Morning Musume。Autumn 2010 concert tour.
After graduation, they will enter a period of preparation before focusing on their singers and entertainer career in China.
August 8th 2010
Morning Musume。 Producer
As Tsunku♂ said, I will graduate on the last day of the Autumn 2010 Tour from the Morning Musume。 to focus on my health. It is my decision but let me reassure you, my condition is not that serious. I just wanted to focus on my recovery for a while because lately, I was thinking a lot about how I could become a pretty woman. I took this decision with that in mind.
But I really love to do concerts so today and until the Autumn Tour, I am counting on you to sing, dance and have fun with me.
Thank you for your continued support.
Since I came to Japan, I did and I learned so many things. Thank you so much.
But what really made me happy was to meet all of you, I am so thankful for this. With this emotion in my heart, I want to make more and more happy memories with you. Until my graduation at the end of Morning Musume。 Autumn Tour, I intend to sing with all my heart.
Thank you for your support until the very last day. Thank you all.
Since I first joined the Hello! Project Egg and then the Morning Musume。, I was so happy every single day. Of course, I sometimes missed my home but thanks to everyone around me and all of your support, I now feel that Japan and the Hello! Project is like my home.
During the Autumn Tour, I intend to sing with everything I got so I count on your support and I hope to see you there.
Wo Ai Ni.
As many of you have read, the reason for Eri’s graduation is health related. I commend her for looking out for her own well being instead of continuing to tough it out and cause more harm than good. I believe that once her condition is taken care of she will be back in the UFI/UFA fold in some capacity. I actually see her probably doing co-hosting duties with Makoto or a career path similar to that kind of work. Maybe she will return to singing as well, who knows?
I’m not so sure about Jun Jun & Lin Lin. Is sending them back to China a good idea? If sending them back is meant to help clean up the disaster that Ice Cream Musume left in their wake, I’m not really for it. I mean if the Chinese pop market didn’t take to ICM, do you think two soon to be former members of Morning Musume will fare any better? This is of course speculation as Tsunku was quite vague in his plans for the two Chinese members of Morning Musume.
With the departure of Eri and Lin Lin Morning Musume has lost 2 strong voices. I would count Jun Jun, but really, I consider her vocally weaker than Sayu. (But I like her as a personality) I was really hoping for Lin Lin to get more lines since she can almost sing at the same level of Reina and Gaki. But it’s not meant to be.
Now there is another audition coming up. With word that the lower age limit starts at 10 I am beginning to question many things. Morning Musume was being set up to go back to their roots as a real vocal group. You have these girls who are in their late teens to early 20’s. Their voices have matured and together they all sound pretty good. Is it really a wise idea to throw in some kid(s) (whose voice(s) will probably sound like a helium filled chipmunk) in with what they have left?
The potential harmonies are going to sound very off and probably ear bleedingly so. I hope the UFI producers have their auto tune skills up to par.
Not to mention that if they do take on younger member(s) what are the chances that they’ll be allowed to go overseas? Morning Musume is starting to be pushed internationally and if one of the parents of these new addition(s) nixes the idea of their kid going to America or Europe wouldn’t that throw a monkey wrench into those plans?
Don’t get me wrong I am all for auditions but with the way the current group is now the lower age limit should be 16 and the upper age limit should be 24 or 25. This way you get a singer whose voice will fit in with what the remaining roster possesses and it won’t look all weird & awkward on stage. I also think it’s only fair to maybe give a few older girls a try. Going young is fine, but 10? Really? Did the whole creepiness of Frances & Aiko not teach UFI anything?
Perhaps it’s just me, but I don’t think putting a little kid with the remaining Morning Musume roster makes a lick of sense. Maybe back when they were still hot shit I would think adding a few little kids would be okay, but not now with AKB48 currently whooping their asses where they once dominated. (This is statistically correct, so all you hardcore H!P wotas don’t bitch at me. Bitch at the record buying public.)
Personally I would like to see 2 or 3 new members added, provided that they can all actually sing. That’s right, I would like talent to be considered over personality for this one audition only. H!P’s flagship group needs a lot of help and the more stronger singers they can get out of this process, the better off they will be. If it’s a personality contest, then 1 outstanding singer and 1 okay singer would make me happy.
Now I find it funny that everyone thinks that this is the end of Morning Musume, and they could be right. I’m not going to put them on their death bed yet (like I do with C-ute), but if this upcoming audition yields some questionable results I would consider putting Morning Musume on life support.