93 comments on “People who have been fans of Morning Musume for 15+ years: who is the greatest member of all time?

  1. Unbelievable that I’m qualified to answer this since I’ve followed the group from 2003. There are many great members, but for me, it got to be Maachan, follow by KameEri, Sayu and Aibon.

  2. If you’re really trying to be unbiased as possible and know your history you probably have to pick one of Abe, Goto, Takahashi, Nakazawa or Michishige.

  3. I think Yaguchi Mari, Takahashi Ai and Michishige Sayumi have contributed tirelessly over the years. Some have been great but haven’t meant a lot beyond their membership years. Overall I’d give it to Yaguchi.

  4. I think the MVP goes to Michishige Sayumi. I felt like when she assumed the leader position, she really held Morning Musume together and that was during the group decline. Sure you can be the top singer, the leader, the beauty, the cutie during the golden age, during the peak but to be able to pull that off during the decline, during the 48 insurgence. That’s something and Morning Musume eventually got back on track during Sayumi’s reign.

    • Um….??? Decline? During Michishiges leadership? Sorry but that never happened. The leader during MMs decline was Yossi. And the leader during MMs lowest sales era was Ai-chan.

      • Ya, I think Michishige took over while it was on the rise or at least sitting flat at that peak.

      • ai-chan hold it together at the lowest point but shige-san is the one who pull mm to the surface again using her TV persona… start from brainstorming, mm14, olympic, password is zero, etc… in her reign MM got 4 consecutive number one spot in oricon… it is not a small feat for a MM leader… especially with 48 group and momoclo as a competitor…

        • I will have to slightly disagree. And this is coming from someone who stanned 6th generation from the beginning.

          I don’t think the rise of momusu is because of Sayu being leader. Astound that time is when momusu actually changed up their members and song choices. When Acchan was leader they gotten no new members and the single choices were not the greatest choices. The girls were mature and we all know wotas flock to younger girls. When they actually lost their mature members and gotten younger ones while changing their songs from jpop more into idol songs is when momusu got more attention. The thing is Tsunku refused to add more girls to that era so they stayed stale (I mean that in the least harsh way possible I loved that era) for so long is hard to keep their fan base or to even get newer ones. No it is easier they have nothing but fresh faces and idol like songs something their main fan base (wotas) enjoy

      • That’s because you had AKB48 and other groups around that time that were out there.
        They just had a lot of competition. Also, Ai was not a good leader her and Risa would get into it all the time because Ai let the girls do whatever because she was too nice. Risa was more leader than she was.

        Sayumi actually really, really cares about MM and you can see it start to finish. It’s just amazing she pulled all the way through, all those years just to end off like that. She really did great for MM.

  5. I’ve only been a fan since ’06, but that’s close enough.
    Yoshizawa Hitomi … Yossy ~

  6. It’s a shame we can’t compare OGs and Current members that well tho, even disregarding the difference in mainstream popularity. Platinum Era saw the end of variety shows/skits for themselves, and we still seem to be getting more-and-more dull “shows” at best. And there’s even less opportunity for those not fan-faves or good vocals/dancers to get time to shine. Even with newer members reviving wota’s love for the group itself lol

    Sadly I’m about 6yrs short to be qualified for this question, tho I agree with those who admit Gocchin was the “Greatest” within the OG and Current members. Heck, she even reminds me of the morning in general lol

  7. I’ve only been a fan of Morning Musume for one full year and I’ve been aware of them for 3 years. I support current members but there are many great past members and I like to learn more about them. Interesting to read opinions of those who have seen it all over the years.

  8. Ishikawa Rika was the MM member who kept me transfixed at the beginning of my fandom. Rika may not be the MVP, but she deserves honorable mention. She was in MM from 15 to 20 years old, but Tsunku continued to promote her long after that. Viyuuden, Ongaku Gatas, Hangry & Angry, a ghesia/ madame movie I can’t remember the name of, plus lots more.

    Nakazawa Yuko, Goto Maki, Natsumi Abe, Yoshizawa Hitomi, Takahashi Ai, Niigaki Risa, Michishige Sayumi, … How can you name just one?

    I feel that if your favorite idol was in this video, she played a very significant role in the history of Morning Musume. AND also rocketed the entire Asian idol genre of music into a permanent industry:

  9. Totally agree with #33. There have been many great members in MM.

    I’d say the only members that made Tsunku change his concept of MM were Goto Maki, Takahashi Ai and Sayashi Riho.

    Gomaki’s addition changed the overall style from melancholic J-pop to idolish disco songs.
    It’s pretty obvious that most Platinum era songs fit Ai’s voice incredibly well, and she fits into cool, melancholic concepts the best.
    The formation dances would probably not exist without Riho.

    In the end I’d probably say Ai. She was dedicated and a great performer. She might have fallen short in terms of entertaining character compared to other members, but she wasn’t horribly bland (there are others in the history of MM that are worse).

  10. It’s interesting that so many mention Abe when her plagiarism scandal hurt MM, and H!P, so much in the long run.

    • Did it though? I think Aibon’s and Yaguchi’s scandals did hurt the group more.

      • Abe’s angered important producers in the Japanese entertainment business, they felt personally betrayed. So they stopped inviting H!P acts on their shows etc. It may also have contributed to Dentsu’s bad relations with UF.

        Down vote me all you want, I didn’t make it up.

        • Do you have any links to back that up? That’s a new theory I’ve never heard, it sounds interesting!

          • It was talked about when I first began following HP but most of the wota I heard it from have dropped out of the fandom since then. I don’t really feel like digging around to find what evidence might still be online from that long ago.

            • LMAO “Look here’s this thing that’s never been said before but it’s totally true even though all the people who “said” this left, any evidence is years old and I don’t have it so whatever but it’s true.”

              Like what an argument. Also, how would her plagiarizing poetry anger entertainment producers….? They stopped getting invited to shows because their popularity was waning and going down by the day.

              The things people say, lol.

  11. hmmmm… this is a tough one… when you say greatest, to me it has to be a mixture of talent and longevity in the group, not just who is your favorite.

    just thinking for a few minutes it would probably have to be Takahashi Ai… The country bumpkin turned ace; she gave herself wholeheartedly for Morning Musume and led them through their darkest period so that the group could be reborn later.

  12. For simplicity –
    Golden Age – Abe, Goto
    the era of platinum – Ai, Kusumi
    Colorful – Sayashi (sayumi because she was staying longest in the group)

    The new generation – it’s difficult at the moment we have masaki, oda, makino they are all so popular

  13. Goto. The whole group changed because of her. Look at Furusato then Love Machine, Koi no Dance Site. The group’s image was allowed to become more fashionable to accomodate her Shibuya gal style.

    I’d say 4th gen allowed them to truly become an idol group though.

  14. Everyone in this thread is wrong. The correct answer is Yasuda. She has the perfect combination of great singing and endless comic material. Her graduation single was also the last time they had a no. 1 for quite a while. Coincidence? I think not. Everyone needs to stop fawning over the showy members and start thinking about who really gave their blood, sweat and tears (mainly sweat) to make the group what it is today

    • I think the sweat joke will be lost to the new fans, but I appreciate. Kemeko is amazing and underrated.

    • Kei was severely underappreciated for what she brought to the group. Had she been more of a beauty*, her name would be mentioned a lot in discussions about the “Greatest Musume Ever”. So would Fujimoto had she been added sooner. Both are in my top 5. I think for me, though, based on her talent and leadership through multiple generation, it has to Yuko Nakazawa.

      *Ironically, Kei seems to become more beautiful as she ages.

  15. I expected this thread to turn into another Kamei thread, but it didn’t. I’m surprised.

  16. No, but tell you what, everyone to mark something in the group. Only some were the image of the group or the most popular one was noticed until sayashi. I agree with some commentary As Abe was the first ace of the group followed by Goto, there was Ai-chan later only as a great singer, Kusumi as the Miracle of the group, and sayashi. others do not forget them but they have another meaning than ace or face of the group. You will not tell me that sayumi was the image of the group.

  17. This type of question is great because it’s so difficult to answer. That’s why some people are putting more than one name down.

    Morning Musume has had many great members and that’s why the group still exists after all these years.

    But, for me, it has to be Fukuda. The candle that burns brightest burns briefest.

  18. I suppose Nacchi is the obvious choice, on service time alone. But Gocchin is the most important and significant member since the dawn of Musume…

  19. I completely disagree with the concept of the question. A successful idol group must have members that appeal to different demographics and do different things. One could easily start taking about at least 14 “greatest” members based on different contributions to the group:

    Variety Show appearances
    Photo Books
    Catch Phrases/gestures
    Longevity in the group
    Longevity as center
    Acting in H!P musicals/H!P TV shows
    Acting in Outside TV shows/Outside Musicals
    Ability to get non-fans interested
    Emotional connection with fans
    Tutoring new members
    Appeal to Lolicom fans
    Appeal to shipping fans

    • Has to appeal to lolicon fans? That sounds disturbing and questionable especially for it to be a requirement.

      • Maybe “appeal to lolicon fans” has the wrong connotation? How about “appeal to fans who like idols who are young, cute, and moe”?

        Also, there are some idols (Nanamin come to mind) who still have lolicon appeal at 16, so maybe lolicon is the wrong word to use.

    • I should probably give a Morning Musume oriented example:
      Singing – Fujimoto Miki
      Dancing – Sayashi Riho
      Variety Show Appearances: Yaguchi Mari
      Photo Books – Kamei Eri
      Catch Phrases/Gestures – Michishige Sayumi/Kago Ai
      Longevity in the Group – Michishige Sayumi
      Longevity as Center – Takahashi Ai
      Acting in H!P stuff – Ogawa Makoto
      Acting in non H!P Stuff – Kudo Haruka
      Ability to get non-fans interested – Suzuki Kanon
      Emotional Connection with fans – Kamei Eri
      Tutoring new members – Mitsui Aika
      Appeal to fans who like idols young, cute and moe – Niigaki Risa, Masaki Sato
      Appeal to Shipping fans – Yoshizawa Hitomi

  20. If it’s only Momusu, Goto. If we consider the whole H!P, Matsuura.

    But my favorite member ever is Kago.

  21. Sayumi Michishige. She basically the only one keeping the group relevant in the media during Platinum era and when her leadership began she made MM one of THE idols again. Not good singer but her hard work really helped Morning Musume. Probably the best leader ever.


    • I got Sayu and Aichan. Sayu for her charm and Ai for talent. Id give Aichan probably the best ever but Sayu is probably the most important member of Morning Musume.

      • I do not agree with you at all. Ai-chan for talent I agree, but for sayumi no she did not bring anything during the Platinum Era. She started to get noticed only when she became a leader. The era of Platinum The only ones that have been popular and forward are Kusumi (because she was the ace of the group and the miracle in addition to her solo career that was the most successful since Aya and Goto just in her debut) and Ai -chan for his ability to sing, to lead the group and his kindness.

        • LOL PLSsss. Sayumi being the only one in TV shows during that era. And the kusumi who was supposed to be the ace turned out to be a flop who cant sing, barely can dance. Ace is someone like Aichan and Riho.
          THIS is the kusumi who dismissed Morning Musume who just says is just stepping stone for her next career that didn’t turn out to be very well.

          • were you a fan during platinum era? Koharu was much more popular than Sayu, like muuuuch mooore! Her singles for Kirarin Revolution (was that the name? cant remember) were really successful, even though Momusu was unpopular. Also, even though she couldn’t really sing, she’d get good lines in many MM singles, while Sayu got the “aaah” parts lol, and we know that lines are also divided by popularity (singles). I agree that Koharu is far from getting into a “top 10 best idols of Momusu”, but she wasn’t a flop during platinum era.

          • And then it’s not a focu, Well before she entered the group she had already said that she wanted to be a model. She said that she loved the band but it was not her ultimate dream. At the same time, all the idols are like her, she puts a foot in the world of the entertainment and she changes her profession. Sayumi she was jealous of Ai-reina-Kusumi because it was always the trio in front of her even said. She even said that she was receiving only aaah lines. Lol is the only one complaining to Tsunku. He had to wait for her to be the leader to give her modified lines, while kusumi said that when she went to the recording studio she received lines that she refused out of respect for her elders.

            • People dislike Koharu because she was actually sincere. Being an idol IS a stepping stone job, for God’s sakes! Idols don’t make good money, and are never considered artists. They start as idols, but their objective is always bigger. Meimi, Duu, Konkon, Mano, they all had different aims. I get sad when a member I like leaves H!P, but it’s better for them to do it while young, so that they have a chance on becoming something different from “a H!P ex member/ sub-celebrity”.
              Koharu just should have kept her mouth shut about it.

              • People who disliked Koharu did so because she was neither pretty, good singer or good dancer and yet was very popular. And she dissed the group.
                Although I agree being an idol isn’t an end in itself, I don’t think there ever was someone who wouldn’t commit 100% while in it, at least for Momusu.

              • I think your comment is a little daring to say that she is not pretty. At the time of today she is one of the most beautiful momosu in history, one of the most popular, she was not a good singer and dancer at the beginning, we can see that her dance is better when it is put in the center. For her voice she is not the best nor the worst y’en to much worse than she (sayumi, aika, junjun, iikubo, ikuta, ogata, makino, akane, morito) already those one has a voice more mediocre than she. The voice in his lines that some people have trouble reproducing or sounds wrong. Even his solos are successful, however, when some members of the Hello Project sing a song of kusumi koharu so I think their song is filthy the first Iikubo (koi kana and Balalaika), Makino (Happy, San san GOGO) not great at all . I invite you to compare them you will see. You’re just jealous of her because in general she was more popular than your current member.

    • I agree. Sayumi’s handwork during platinum era really Is something incredible plus the consecutive number ones during her leadership is something special.

  22. Tanaka, no contest. She was special from the start: unique, strong, talented, charismatic, hard-working… Center on her first single – no other member achieved that, if I’m not mistaken. Before her, MM was still looking for some sort of identity. After her, MM had no choice but to reinvent itself. I know many haters loathed her for always being in the limelight, but the truth is no Platinum song would stand today without her as gravity center.

    Anyway, she has also received Tsunku’s seal of approval, so it is not just my opinion. Thumbdowning me would be thumbdowning God. Beware.

  23. Not at 15 years yet but 11 years is still a long time for me to be a Wota, didnt think i would last this long lol. Still feel like Kamei is the best all time but the 6th gen as a whole all make valid options. Sayu and Reina both left behind legendary tenures thats gonna be hard for anyone to rival. Takahashi Ai and Sayashi Rino were absolute centers who had both singing and dancing abilty. Sato Masaki is on pace to becoming an absolute god lol, it seems like there is nothing she cant do nowadays

  24. I know this is all opinionated, but I do agree with pretty much all the members who are stated, but specifically Nakazawa, Abe, Goto, Takahashi, Tanaka, Michishige, and Sayashi.

    I’m curious to see who from the current lineup will be considered legendary once this current era (?) is over (strong contenders are Fukumura, Oda & Sato, maybe even Makino) but moreso I mean, if you told a fan from 10+ years ago that Sayu would be one of the most common names coming up in legendary members, people would just laugh. I think there’s a potential for current members to surprise us in ways we haven’t seen yet.

  25. We must stop for a second. The sayumi course is 2 thing that has been retained from her, the fact that she’s the longest staying member of the group and the worst singer. For my part everyone has contributed to the popularity of the group.

    1G = Abe (the ace)
    2G = sayaka
    3G = Maki (the ace)
    4G = kago, Rika
    5G = Ai
    6G = all
    7G = Kusumi (The miracle, the ace)
    8G = person
    9G = Riho
    10G = kudo, Masaki (now)
    11G = Oda (now)
    12G = Makino, nonaka (just after maria)
    13G = reina
    14G = morito (the ace of country girls)

  26. I wanna say Reina, but I also wanna say Abe, and I can’t deny that Goto was special, but I’ve only been around since 2012 and I like early Musume more than Golden.

    it feels like 8th gen onward are joke answers.

    My truest feeling is that Berryz were the best H!P could bring, if only they were managed by a better company that didn’t let them tread water. Ai no Album 8 to hiatus Berryz were magical.

  27. MM has been mostly bargain bin tier idols with a few exceptions. 9th and 10th gens were peak kuso. Berryz and C-ute and CG blow them out of the water.

  28. It is hard to pick one, because I think it was a group effort in different categories that kept them relevant for this long.Yaguchi in variety and putting personality in the group, Goto, Nacchi and Takahashi for influencing so many that followed after them to even want to take part in being Musume.Tsuji and Kago for almost themselves becoming a fad. Tanaka and Michishige for holding on so long to something that wasn’t seeming to go anywhere. Ishikawa really put in a lot of leg work in joining groups and maintaining image, Nakazawa being the eternal leader even after her time in the group. Choosing one is near impossible, unless you count Tsunku the most important Musume of them all.

  29. Fan since: 1999 (Love Machine; had watched a bit of Asayan that had aired overseas prior to that)
    Age: 26

    Since this is directed to people who’ve known/supported the group for at least 75% of their history, I have to say it’s most likely Michishige. I was someone who ended up straying away for a bit during the tail end of the Platinum Era, sort of watching from a distance, but if it weren’t for me recognizing Michishige in “Wagamama ki no mama ai no JOOKU,” I probably wouldn’t have returned to being a fan. Reading Tsunku’s history in the newer posts, as well as seeing the overall shape of the last 20 years, it must have taken real grit to come in at the tail end of the Golden Era, push through the Platinum Era, then graduate at their second peak: besides Niigaki, she’s been through some of the “roughest” times in MM besides the first two generations. Not only was she one of the keys (along with Takahashi, Niigaki, and Tanaka) to really keep the group together from about 2007 to 2013-14, I think she’s probably responsible for keeping/”inviting back” older fans like myself just as they had their string of Top 3s and those in parentheses were graduating.

    I did see an above comment mentioning Fukuda (“the candle that burns brightest burns briefest”), and I think we should agree, at least from Tsunku’s standpoint, that her leaving turned the wheels into having MM evolve into what it’s known for now. Solid vocals and her age made the idol world accessible to all school-aged girls (along with Abe and Iida)—nothing to really fault considering no one would have thought MM would have become what they became.

  30. For greatest, I’d say Yoshizawa, as Yoshizawa was the first guy to break into H!P as an idol. I’d also put Kusumi up there, because she proves to us that even if you’re trash, you can still acheive your most twinkly dreams. Absolutely inspirational.

    • Possible trol but Hitomi Yoshizawa is a female. I remember her being annoyed when Tsunku told her to act like a guy for one of their songs and she’s like “I’m not a guy, I’m a girl.” lmao.
      She does have that nice pretty boy type of look though that can set her like that.
      I just think she looks a lot better with short hair.

  31. Best main melody : Oda
    without an overwhelming main melody, it will become Kpop. Only visual with standard voice.

    Best Companion Melody:
    Fukumura (too much solo will be boring, but she make the unison soft)
    Michisage (too much solo will be disaster, but she make the unison feel rich)
    For me, companion rule more important than main singer. The unison become dull without it (Just like vocal group).

    Best contralto: Nakazawa
    Best soprano : Kamei

    Best dancer : Nonaka (his body automatically follows the rhythm of music, not like memorizing dance moves).Probably because she’s a pianist

    • Sure you’re talking about Morning Musume?
      Yuko Nakazawa is good but in Morning Musume there is Risa Niigaki, the best contalto.
      Kamei Eri for best soprano?…☠️ Mari Yaguchi? Ai Kago?? Have you ever heard Morning Musume and do you know about about Reina Tanaka??? You’re talking about Morning Musume while don’t know these three singers?
      I have no reaction for “Best dancer: Nonaka”

    • lmao Kamei is one of the worse soprano. Tanaka is soprano, Kago is soprano, Yaguchi is soprano.
      Yuko is the worst singer in 1 gen.
      Most known fact about the group is that Sayashi and Ishida are the best dancers by ridiculously long shot. Rhythm Tsuji, Tanaka, Sato, Sayashi>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Nonaka

  32. Nacchi. But close behind are Yuko, Mari, Kei, and Yossi.

    Never understood the popularity of Goto. She’s just meh to me.

    I’m surprised how many named Tanaka in the Japanese thread. Wasn’t she always overshadowed by others?

    • Even though Reina’s role was that of a top backup singer, she did do an awful lot of side stuff:

      7 solo photobooks
      2 Anime lead actress
      Musical lead (Stacy)
      Tons of variety shows
      Her metal band was the opening act of her graduation

      • She was a main singer she literally has more solo lines on the A-sides than Takahashi. There are main vocalists (for example Reina) lead vocalists (for example Risa) and backup vocalists

      • S/he of course did not mean the singing position because Tanaka has almost 30 minute of solo line, exactly like Takahashi. I don’t think who always sings at least 50% of the songs in solo lines lol. Takahashi and Sayashi were the center because the center must can dance.

        • I don’t think who always sings at least 50% of the songs in solo lines is a backup singer*

          She is Tsunku’s hyped fave if you guys didn’t notice he named her as “perfect member” and “the perfect voice for his style of song” even before 6 generation made their debut, damn

    • Not at all?
      Ai and Riho were the center because of course they are much better dancers but it’s not about that. Tanaka’s voice is the most suitable for Tsunku’s songs and she was the most popular platinum era member

    • Yes i see otherseas don’t know this group. If there is a member who is idolish asf, has the voice sounding like an artificial tone made for nothing else but japanese music, and can’t dance so is not in the center because Riho Sayashi dances better, still she will be (was) the most hyped up and beloved member by otakus and the lil fave excepted one for Tsunku who will give her 3/4 of a song in solo line.

  33. 15 years since I got into them, and I think there are 5 standouts: Maki Goto, Kaori Iida, Takahashi Ai, Oda Sakura and Junjun. Additionally Tsuji-Kago and all of the sixth gen members.

  34. Tsunku stated Reina Tanaka and japanese would say that but as an american i say she just try to be irritatingly cute and is just a voice really good for their songs, ok with great technique too if you otaku want to hear, there are much more charismatic members for example Maki Goto, Sakura Oda, Tsuji and Kago, etc

  35. Where do those dislike come lmao for example why is there so many dislikes on a simple personal opinion “i like Koharu” ☠️☠️☠️☠️☠️

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