It’s always sad to see your favourite member leave one of your favourite music groups. In this case, we have Niigaki Risa who graduated from Hello Project and Morning Musume on May 18th. Many believe that this is a great loss for Morning Musume. She was a leader who brought charisma, spunk and radiance to the Hello Project group. It also seems since the graduation of Eri, Linlin and Junjun, Morning Musume has been losing some of its best members such as Takahashi Ai, Niigaki Risa and Mitsu Aika. However, this may also signal new beginnings for Morning Musume and Risa-chan.
Risa joined Morning Musume in 2001 as a 5th Generation member along with Konno Asami, Ogawa Makoto and Takahashi Ai. She debuted in Morning Musume’s 13th single “Mr. Moonlight ~Ai no Big Bang~” and from that day Niigaki continued to improve and blossom into the beautiful young lady she is today.
According to Tsunku, the reason for Risa being chosen as a member of Morning Musume was because of the way she shined in the final recording of the 5th Generation audition and I believed that she never stopped shining. Morning Musume fans will never forget her warm smile, unique voice and cheerful personality.
Risa was also a charismatic and excellent leader of Hello Project and Morning Musume. She guided and mentored the younger and less experienced members with precision and strictness and always had their best interest in mind. She knew when it was time to have fun and when it was time to get down to business. In my opinion, although she was only a leader for seven months, she has been one of the best leaders of Morning Musume.
As I browse through the different Morning Musume photos and videos I can’t help but feel a little heartbroken- especially as I see pictures such as these with the infamous “Ai-Gaki couple”.
Knowing that we won’t see such compassionate images of these two for a while is quite a sad thought.
However, on a more positive note, I wish Risa all the best in her future endeavours. In her graduation announcement, she stated that she will be studying acting after her graduation. I know Niigaki is an excellent actress from the numerous stage plays and dramas she has starred in so I only expect success from her in choosing that path. I know she will be one of the successful graduates much like Goto Maki and Kusumi Koharu. I hope that her cheerful personality never falters, her smile never fades and she continues to be the hardworking and reliable girl we all grown to know and love. My respect for her will always be present and my support will only become stronger as she walks into the future.
I hope that true Hello Project and Morning Musume fans wish her the best in life and will never lose their love and support for Morning Musume although she is no longer there. I personally know, despite the member changes, Morning Musume and Hello Project shall always be in my heart.