This post is LONG overdue, but it has been a hectic semester for me at school and fortunately, it is finally coming to an end.
On November 26th in Yokohama Arena, Morning Musume ’14’s leader, Michishige Sayumi, graduated from the group and Hello! Project. She is currently the member with the longest tenure within the group standing at over 11 years. After her graduation, she claimed that she would be taking a temporary break from the entertainment industry, which is understandable because 11 years is a long time.
Sayumi’s leave marks the completion of the Reborn Era, the last of Platinum Era and birth of a new Era. After leading the group for over two years, Sayumi has passed on the leadership role to 9th Generation member, Fukumura Mizuki while Iikubo Haruna and Ikuta Erina took up the roles of sub-leaders.
Although I had a ton of work to do, I made sure and stayed up just to watch the live stream of the gradation ceremony. It was not often that one gets the privilege of witnessing a Hello! Project graduation ceremony live, so I took advantage of the opportunity. I cried throughout majority of the concert, especially while the remaining members gave their speeches to Sayumi. I think I was full snot-blowing bawling when the 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th Generation sang ‘Mikaeri Bijin’ as Sayumi walked along the stage in her yukata looking back on her kouhai.
The concert performances were professional and the graduation songs were sad. You got the feeling that this was truly the beginning of a new Morning Musume. This was even shown in the concert through the opening and closing VTRs where the members look at Sayumi’s memories in Morning Musume in a scrapbook. They then leave one by one with Sayumi being left alone and closing her book and smiling before leaving it behind. It was a truly symbolic video and fit so well with the theme of the concert.
I am very sad to see Sayumi leave, but I am ecstatic to see what this new Era will be like. I have faith in Mizuki’s leadership skills and I see great potential in the 12th Generation. I really hope that this lineup is maintained for a while and we do not see any more graduations in the near future. With this upcoming year, I foresee a new Morning Musume, with new songs, a new style and more mature members.
All the best to Sayumi and her new path in life!