I’m sad to announce that Morning Musume’s leader, Niigaki Risa will be graduating from Morning Musume and Hello Project at the end of Morning Musume’s spring tour in May. It was said that Niigaki originally was to graduate alongside Takahashi Ai last year. However, due to the entry of the 10th generation members, Niigaki decided to postpone her graduation so that she may be able to guide the new members. Risa’s reason for her graduation is that so she may be able to focus on her acting career. She is currently the longest-serving member of Morning Musume being in the group for almost eleven years.
With the departure of Niigaki, Michishige Sayumi will be the new leader of Morning Musume and Tanaka Reina will be the new sub-leader.
Shimizu Saki will be the new leader of Hello Project.
Personally, I don’t believe that Sayumi will be half the great leader Niigaki was or was determined to be. She may have a good relationship with most of the members of the group and does attempt to guide them whenever she can but she does not possess the leadership qualities needed to guide this internationally known group. However, I believe with some training, time and practice she may be able to acquire these qualities. Also, Reina has a self-absorbed personality. Leaders must not be selfish and must care, guide and keep their followers in mind. A mutual and agreeable relationship must be set between members and leaders; and not a relationship of fear much like the relationship between Reina and the junior members. So hopefully with her new role of sub-leader, Reina will review her actions and attitude and make the necessary adjustments to be a good sub-leader and maybe future leader.
Saki has wonderful leadership qualities and experience as she was and still is the leader of Berryz Koubou for almost eight years. Therefore, it is almost certain that she will be able to take on and conquer the challenge of Hello Project Leader.
Now what will happen with Morning Musume as all the great talents leave the group and leave behind a cluster of inexperienced young performers? It can already be assumed that the persons with the greater talent will now outshine those lacking in the group. Some of these members may be Riho, Reina and Ayumi.
These three members have great singing and dancing skills and therefore may receive more lines and dance solos than the other members. There’s also a possibility that former Egg, Haruka may receive favoritism from Tsunku as well.
Sayumi may also receive more lines due to her unique high-pitched voice and cute image. Although Aika is very experienced in song, dance and variety skills she may still be pushed to the sidelines because of her injury and weak vocals. This makes me wonder if she too may graduate soon (I hope not >_<).
This may be an opportunity for 9th Generation members to guide and lead the younger generation and receive more lines in songs.
Sayumi has huge task in training these inexperienced performers to be top-notch. Recently, sales have been declining and people are starting to lose interest in the group due to the many childish songs and inexperienced performances. Hopefully, a new start can be made with all these changes and for the New Year that will push Morning Musume in a positive light. Niigaki’s high energy, positive and encouraging aura and beautiful smile will be missed and I wish her luck in her future endeavors.