June 19, 1973 — Kyoto
1997/09/14 ~ 2001/04/15
Nakazawa: For the “FNS Kayousai” at the end of last year, the five of us original members sang together for the first time in 18 years. It’s strange how even though it’s been such a long time, it felt like we were right back in those days… Everything from the way we sang to how we presented ourselves, it all came back.
Not one of us was thinking, “I’m not the same person as I was back then.” We could once again sing this song that had been written for us 20 years ago, all together, sharing in the same feeling. I was truly happy. Being able to go back to my initial resolve like that; being given the opportunity to do that… Just how lucky am I?
— Morning Musume’s 20-year history all began with those five people. The occasion for your formation was the “ASAYAN” audition show, and more specifically Sharan Q’s “Female Rock Vocalist Audition.”
Nakazawa: The five of us failed the audition. But we were called back on a later date, and that’s when they told us: “if you can sell 50,000 copies of your CD in five days, you’ve got yourself a major debut.” Full of determination, each of us said, “I’ll do it!!!” That’s how it all started.
Had even one of us said “no” that day, we wouldn’t be celebrating the 20th anniversary right now.
October 30, 1996 — Tokyo
Fukumura: I’ve always felt strongly about not wanting to lose to my generation-mates. But then on the other hand, from the very beginning it felt like I came last out of the four of us. Even at the shoot for “Maji Desu ka Ska!” the other three were in the front row while I was in the back. That was a bit of a shock. “I’m supposed to be a new member too, and this is where they put me…?” In “Only you,” I got to sing only during two parts while Sayashi Riho even received solo lines and she was right in the center.
It was a tough thing for a child to accept, but that was the reality. That was when the sense of rivalry within me was awakened as I decided that I was going to try and push my way closer to the center and receive more and more lines. That’s how it all started.
Reaching Morning Musume At Last
— I’m sure some of that strength of spirit can also be attributed to the circumstances regarding how you got into the group. You joined Morning Musume through H!P Eggs, and that was the first time in Morning Musume’s history for that to happen.
Fukumura: It happened just around a time when I’d experiences some pretty serious setbacks in the Eggs, so I took part in the audition thinking it would be my last chance. I made it as far as the third round of judging before I failed. During the auditions, I saw girls like Suzuki Kanon who just shined so much brighter than me; girls who looked like they weren’t afraid of anything. I remember thinking, “It’s girls like this who will get into Morning Musume. It’s going to be a new era.“
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Tsunku♂: “Inducting the 9th and 10th generations one after the other was a big thing. It was important having in there the two good dancers, Sayashi and Ishida. There were members with strong personalities, too. Fukumura, Ikuta, Sato, Iikubo, Kudo, and Suzuki… Looking back, it was perfect. And to top it all off, there was 11th generation’s Oda with her singing chops. If I was the coach of the school baseball club team and these were my regular members, I’d be certain that we could’ve won against any and every opponent — even accounting for the cleanup hitter.”
“Led by that Morning Musume, after 10 years of activities it felt like Berryz Koubou and °C-ute suddenly just bloomed, too. Before then, they had been seen as something like the “youngest children” of the Hello! Project family. But now they suddenly turned into the big sisters — it was like they became the “idols’ idols,” all through their own efforts.
I feel like that state of perfection is connected even to the Hello! Project of today. And maybe because of it, in that sense, I believe my role has ended.”
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Are you for real, Teranya…?
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This is my first time seeing Tsunku♂ himself saying “his role (in H!P) has ended”…
Reading this made me sad.