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A bit more on Takahashi Ai’s graduation January 10, 2011

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Hello! Project, Jpop, Morning Musume, Takahashi Ai.
Tags: , , , , ,

Last night’s post was a bit of a knee jerk reaction, but I must say that most of my points still hold up. While her graduation was inevitable, and I am sad to see her going now, I still think the timing of this announcement is really quite premature.

When I discovered this news I was actually browsing around on Twitter, which is a very rare thing for me to do, and I stumbled upon this post by the Hello! Ranking staff:


As soon as I saw that my heart sank. You know that feeling in your stomach you get when something truly awful happens? Yup, right there. I immediately tried to verify that post wasn’t some horrible prank and then went into panic-mode and texted my one good friend who also likes H!P. We talked a bit on AIM and then I wrote that post I made here last night.

I was pretty bitter last night, and I’m still not exactly happy now, but the thing is, it’s not exactly like no one saw this coming, and nor is Ai-chan is being cut short. She’s been leader for longer than any other member, and she’s even been in the group longer than anyone else sans Risa. She leads nearly every single, and has really been in the forefront for a large portion of her time in the group. It would be a disservice to her to say she’s had a good run. She’s had a great run, arguably even the best run so far of any member in the group’s history.

This brings up another concern, though. What the heck will Morning Musume be like without Ai-chan? Undoubtedly the group will adapt, as it will have to, but it will still be a strange sight. This really isn’t a new situation though, as this has happened before when Abe Natsumi left, as Isilwentari has pointed out, and that certainly didn’t spell the end of Morning Musume then (even though many people said it would). Another thing to think about is what will happen to Takahashi’s lines? For a song like “Onna to Otoko no Lullaby Game,” where her and Reina together share the majority of the song’s lines it would be almost over bearing if Reina kept her portion of the lines, and Takahashi’s were distributed among the remaining members. Something to think about.

Thanks to Turbos86 over at Hello!Online we have translations of both Tsunku’s comment on the graduation, and Ai-chan’s official message about it.

This is the comment regarding Takahashi Ai’s graduation from Morning Musume

Thank you for your continual support as always.
As announced directly herself on the stage of January 9th’s show at Nakano Sunplaza,
5th generation member, Takahashi Ai will be graduating from both Morning Musume and Hello! Project in Morning Musume’s concert tour this fall.

When the proposal for Kamei Eri’s graduation was made last year,
I told Takahashi Ai, “It’s about time you should consider the timing of your own graduation and what you want to pursuit afterward” as an advice.

The 5th generation members will have joined Morning Musume for 10 years.
Takahashi Ai is the 6th leader and has been in this position for 3 years and 7 months.
Takahashi Ai holds the record for being the longest in the group and the longest to hold the leader position.
Looking back, she has honestly carried the responsibility for all this time.

(In no disrespect to all former members and leaders of the group…excuse me)

I have talked with her about various things, such as her activities afterward
As announced in the new year concert, her graduation will be in Morning Musume’s Autumn concert tour,
this was the right time to make the announcement.

Since there are still more than half a year to go,
the 9th generation members have to familiarize themselves with Morning Musume’s music
and dances, to become self aware that they are part of the group.
Takahashi plans to properly finish her job as leader in the mean time.

Please be looking forward to what will become of Morning Musume.

Takahashi Ai will continue to be active in music, theater, and live events after her graduation.
Details will gradually be released.

Also, after Takahashi Ai’s graduation, Niigaki Risa will assume the leader position of the group,
and become the longest active member of Morning Musume

Morning Musume Producer

That really is a fairly nice message, but the one thing that bugs me is his feelings that this was the “right time to make the announcement.”

Now, I know others are happy that this was announced so early, as this gives them the opportunity to cherish the time they have left with Ai-chan in the group, and I can sympathize with that position. For me personally, I’ll worry over this long before I should. I’m already a little on edge over something that’ll be happening almost a whole year from now, for gosh sakes!

Another thing that bothers me a bit is that there have been a LOT of changes to Morning Musume’s roster over the last few weeks. Eri, Junjun and Linlin have just graduated, the ninth generation were revealed just a week ago, and now Takahashi is to graduate? That is a whole heck of a lot to take in. I really wish they would have at least given us a little while to get used to the ninth gen. before announcing her graduation, as it really does put a bit of a dark cloud over the whole thing.

Make no mistake though, I’m almost entirely sure the reason this was announced so early was to spur goods sales. This is going to be a sentimental year for all of her fans, and I know they’ll be plenty of opportunities for them to turn that sentiment into something a bit more tangible, something I’m sure I’ll be guilty of as well… ><

Something that really intrigues me about Tsunku's comment is his assurance that Ai-chan, "will continue to be active in music, theater, and live events." The theatre part is especially interesting, as we know that she has always dreamed of being a part of Takarazuka, and while maybe she hasn't actually joined that group, maybe she’ll move her career more into musical theatre? While that may not be my cup of tea, I’d certainly be happy for her as I’m sure that would be something she would greatly enjoy.

Here is Takahashi’s official comment:

It has been decided that, I, Takahashi Ai, during Morning Musume’s concert tour this Autumn,
will be graduating from Morning Musume and Hello! Project.
At the time when Kamei Eri, JunJun and LinLin’s graduations were decided,
Tsunku-san told me, “It’s about time Takahashi should think about your own graduation’s timing!”
which has gotten me thinking.

I will have been in Morning Musume for 10 years comes this August,
So I thought it will be a good time! to graduate in the Autumn Morning Musume concert tour.

As there are still around 9 months left, I will do my best as leader until that time to shape up this new Morning Musume.

I will be affectionate to the newly added 9th generation members as I try to teach them various things, everyone please rest assured.

This too reasserts the fact that it was a positive decision by Ai to graduate at this time. I do admit that Tsunku’s comment sounds a bit like, “When the heck are you gonna leave?” but I don’t think one can really try to infer that much out of a translation. 😉

I must also admit I’m really excited for Risa. I always slightly feared that Ai and Risa would graduate together, which would have taken this chance away from her. Heck, if there ever was a girl better groomed to be leader I can’t imagine it. There’s no doubt she’ll be far more proactive that Ai was, and her love and passion for the group is second to none. She’ll make an amazing leader, and will hopefully be given a fair while to make a legacy for herself. In the meantime, though, I’m sure she’ll have her hands full helping Ai get the ninth gen in line! ^^

So, honestly, I really should try to look at the glass as half full. Even though Ai-chan leaving the group will irreversibly tear a huge hole into the Morning Musume line-up I’ve grown to love, she’ll still be with us for the majority of the year, and her leadership will be replaced by someone who could be no more deserving or competent for the job. I imagine I might have to say that to myself quite a bit over this year. ><



1. isilwentari - January 10, 2011

Me too. This has been a crazy few weeks, ne?

2. dreamtiny - January 10, 2011

hey, you used the twitter integration! 😀

I do agree the timing is really bad for this announcement :/ I am happy she announced it early enough for people to start buying things (if they plan to), but I think it’s ridiculous for people to jump ship this early.

She’s apparently ineligible for Takarazuka, or so the people over on H!O say. Which is a shame :/

3. Nights4Saturn - January 12, 2011

@Isilwentari: Oh yeah. Let’s hope that if anything else crazy happens, it’s only for the good… ><

@Dreamtiny: Oh, heck yes! That really is a cool feature. The reason I was actually on Twitter that night was because I was looking for an excuse to try it out lol

I can't believe people are already abandoning the group just because she announced that she’ll graduate. She hasn’t even left yet! Yeesh.

That is unfortunate that she can’t join Takarazuka, but there are plenty of other groups she can work with if she so chooses. She’s already been given the chance to star in two productions with them, so at least in some sense she’s already lived part of that dream.

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