So recently as I was following up with all these Momusu news and promotional events, it got me into thinking why the hell am I so fixated on a bunch of girls a decade younger than me? Normally my favorite artists belong to the older group, say for example, Avril Lavigne (2 years older), Do As Infinity (5 years older?, Ryo is much older though), Namie Amuro (also in her 30s), all the English bands – Lifehouse, One Republic, The Script…they’re mostly older than I am.
So why Momusu whose average age is around 16.5-17? Well, of course, aside from Leader Sayumi, the rest are almost a decade younger than me. In fact, my favourite member in the group is only 17 years old. It’s weird. What is it that makes me actually look up to them or feel like I want to support them? This post is going to be about that.
About 1 and ½ half years ago, I stumbled upon a Morning Musume music video while watching one of their programs called Hello Satoyama. They showed Ai no Gundan’s music video, just a part of it actually for promotion. But that small segment awed me because first of all, I never thought they could actually dance like that. I’ve never paid much attention to Momusu songs before this, I wasn’t a fan of their music, I just genuinely loved watching their variety shows because they do funny shit and brighten my day up. Who doesn’t want a good laugh by the end of the day? That was really how I recognized the members of Momusu in the early days, but never got into their music.
Ai no Gundan probably changed everything for me. It was the turning point for me as regular viewer of their shows. It made me curious of their current development. I only knew about Takahashi Ai’s graduation because it was shown in Hello! Pro Time and I knew new members were coming in namely the 9th and 10th generation not long after. Niigaki Risa became leader after Aichan, but also left about a year later passing the baton to current Leader Michishige Sayumi
I really liked Ai no Gundan after watching the full thing. It kind of fits my musical taste. After researching for a bit more, I found Wagamama as well, which was the coupling song. Both of which featured really cool dance formations. Something I never thought could be possible with the current members of Morning Musume. Let’s just say I didn’t have much hope for the new members back then because they were still green and all. And they were! But they surpassed my expectations.
After their peak in Golden Era, they sunk so low during Platinum Era that people actually thought they’ve disbanded. It was really bad back then, they could barely achieve 50k sales I think. They stopped appearing in Music Station because people were more interested in AKB48 and their sister groups, Momoclo and a bunch of other rising idol groups that snatched the spotlight away from old burnt out Momusu. They stopped getting invitation to Kouhaku. I think it was a huge blow for the members. The 9th gen and 10th gen came in during the low times. They were just slowly clawing their way up during the past 2 years.
I think they started gaining attention when Tsunku made that song – One Two Three (surprisingly turned out to be one of my favs), which heavily features EDM and of course, the dance formation. But even then, the rise was still slow. It was the period between Brainstorming à Wagamama Ai no Joke/Ai no Gundan, when there was a sudden surge of popularity. Wagamama was probably their best sales up to date. I remembered promotion was crazy and fans, even mothers and their children appeared at their launch event. I became a fan around that period of time. They heavily promoted the NEW Morning Musume, stating that the OLD Morning Musume is no longer there. I think that was a brave and bold action. It definitely brought along a huge impact to even regular listeners. Lots of billboards were spread across strategic areas for example Shibuya crossings, railway underpass etc…with all the girls’ faces and their personal quotes. This was evident also during TokiSora/Password is 0 promotion.
I came to like their new direction, new motto, new spirit and to actually watch them challenge themselves to do better is a great pleasure. Sakura, the only 11th gen member got to taste how it felt like to have 5 consecutive #1 singles in Oricon when previously, there were only 4 in Golden Era. Now I’ve already touched on the first reason why I want to support them that is dance-wise, they clearly have surpassed their older generation senpais. Despite being new to the industry and the majority of them not having dance experiences, they still managed to give such good performances and now I’m always looking forward to their new formations in singles. Their performance level has increased a lot.
Second reason – The struggle the new members had gone through. Like I said, they joined when Momusu wasn’t particularly popular anymore, in fact, it was probably their worst period ever. So having said that, one has to realize that they have nothing to fall back on comfortably even if they slacked. You know how when a certain group has gone popular and then the new gen members would come in, they just ride along with the popularity wagon and didn’t have to put in so much effort at all. This wan’t the case with 9th and 10th gen. They literally experienced some of the worst period as the bad taste from Platinum Era still lingered around. But they never gave up. In fact, I was touched when Sayashi Riho (center) claimed her wish is to appear in Kouhaku again. She was probably only around 15 that time. I’m sure all of the members wanted Momusu to be recognized again in the eyes of Japan. Having watched them worked their way up the hill, to reach their current level now, which was so much better than what Platinum Era experienced, I can’t help but to feel this urge to support them. They deserve recognition. I probably wouldn’t support them much if they joined when everything was so comfortable for them.
I feel proud when I see them appear on TV shows and gave their all each time. Although the number of TV appearances have considerably waned compared to Golden Era, at least, they’re getting there. These members are out not only to continue the legacy from their seniors, but also to create a new legacy of their own. It’s very inspiring to watch this group of girls so much younger than I am but holding such huge responsibility. All I ever did back then was just to graduate high school and get into a decent university. These girls have to juggle between their studies as a normal student and at the same time, a part of an idol group whose history is heavy. In other words, I also feel like I’m going to give my best too to achieve my personal goals, alongside this group.