Current Morning Musume Members According to Fans For Beginners


I’m really knocking it out of the park with my sudden inspiration to blog before I might not have time to do so very often.

Since I’ve noticed an abundance of new H!P fans springing up, and there are others that are just curious about the group, but don’t want to bother joining the fan community to hear all of the crazy speculation/jokes/insanity that goes on, this is a guide to what us intense fans like to say about each member. 

Also, to be noted, lines are not chosen by the girls, they are delegated to them by Tsunku and UFA based on vocal ability, and somewhat more importantly popularity. So, when I mention girls getting flack for getting more lines than others, this is because some vocal parts of the fan community apparently do not understand this and hate on members for it.

-International fans refer to fans who reside outside of Japan

Ai Takahashi

A.K.A.- Leader, Ai-chan, or “the one leaving soon.”

*Of note- for very good reason, her posterior is known as “Aibutt”

Ai is the leader of Hello!Project and Morning Musume, meaning that she helps to support all of the girls. The leader’s actual role has never been established other than being a sort of team captain. She is known for her singing, dancing, and performance abilities, but most importantly for her wonderful butt. (As featured prominently in photobooks.) International fans will often criticize her as having a boring personality and not being interesting, although she still has a large fanbase outside of Japan- as evidenced by the outrage and confusion of the English-speaking community when her graduation was announced. She is the most popular current Morning Musume member in Japan, and one of the most popular of all time there. Ai-chan’s mad dancing skills and possibly the muscles that make up Aibutt come from her classical ballet training. She’s a huge fan of Takarazuka, musicals, and theatre, and auditioned for Morning Musume because she was too short to participate in most productions. Ai-chan is also regarded by many fans as the best singer in Hello!Project, which when paired with her popularity, earns her TONS of lines in singles- something that some International fans loathe her for. Ai-chan is also known to be a gamer- she particularly loves the Final Fantasy games.

Risa Niigaki

A.K.A.- Gaki-san

Risa is the Sub-leader of Morning Musume, and soon to be leader of Morning Musume and Hello!Project. While she isn’t the most popular member, she does have a small, stable fanbase. Due to her obsession with her eyebrows when she first joined, she invented her signature move- the Mayuge Beam. Fans know her as the reaction queen for her hilarious and often crazy reactions/reaction faces when something shocks her. Fans like Gaki’s voice for it’s deep and powerful qualities. She was also known for some time to have been a huge Morning Musume fan herself before she joined. She is also one of the shorter members, which caused her to have to wear huge platform boots for the Cinderella musical just to be taller than Ai-chan (who was Cinderella.) Despite her lack of popularity in the Japanese fan community, she is very well liked among international fans- she’s placed in the top 5 favorites (out of the entirety of H!P) of the international fan community every year Hello!Blog has done one. Gaki is known to be very accessory-oriented. She has/had lots of big cell-phone charms, has a fashionable but highly impractical cell-phone case, and has some of the craziest nails seen in H!P history.

Reina Tanaka

A.K.A.- Winky-chan, Reina-chan, Reina-sama, etc.

Reina is known for her intense, scary, and generally gangster (Yankii) attitude. Fans like to joke about how Yankii she is, and she plays along with that badass image. Aside from her badassery, she is known well for her wonky eyes. Particularly prominent in early photos, her eyes are slightly wonky. She likes to wink for photos, which sometimes will add to the effect. She is known for being a good singer and being very popular in Japan like Ai-chan, but did not catch flack for her large amount of lines until recently. This is most likely due to the fact that international fans have been charmed by her wonky eyes and her badass image, and are willing to forgive her for it. Reina is also known for her collection of leopard print lounge/sleep wear that she owns and shows off on her blog. She has a younger brother, who is occasionally featured on her blog- which may piss of a few fans until the post is translated revealing the mystery guy to be her brother. (Mistakes probably due to the fact that he’s growing rapidly and seems to get taller compared to Reina with each blog post.) She is known for being called “the closest to perfect Morning Musume member” by Tsunku, although because of her bad girl image, whenever she hasn’t posted on her blog for a few days fans will immediately assume that she got caught in a scandal. For fans that have looked into the history of the group’s auditions, it’s known and occasionally referenced as part of her badass personality that she somehow got into the final round of the 5th generation audition but was kicked out because she was too young before passing the 6th generation audition.

Sayumi Michishige

A.K.A.- Sayu, Sayu-chan, and Sayummy

Originally known for her sub-par singing, love for the color pink, intense popularity, usa-chan peace, and various variety shows, this girl is much more than a narcissist. Her singing isn’t the best, and she has said it quite a few times. Sayumi has instead made a name for herself acting like a stuck-up ditz on reality shows. Fans know her as the Morning Musume member who believes she’s the cutest girl in the world, while fans of AKB48 may know her as the person who invented usa-chan peace. (Featured in the picture and many a AKB48 member blog) She has long been known to fangirl over other idol groups- particularly Idoling!!! and AKB48, and has sung their songs backstage, worn their t-shirts to rehearsals, and commented on them. Since the 9th generation members have joined, the fan community has noticed a much darker side to Sayumi’s fangirling- she loves little girls. There is speculation that she owns all of the “free-candy” style white vans that UFA transports their talents in, and that she likes Sayashi Riho as more than just a cute kouhai. Sayumi has said in a Q&A that she would like to raise a “Sayashi” as a pet, further fueling jokes about her love for little girls. Sayumi herself is well loved by the fandom, earning herself the nickname “Sayummy” for her “delicious” body. (Particularly her tummy.)

Aika Mitsui

A.K.A.- Mittens

Aika doesn’t have a very large fanbase in Japan, and her fanbase in the international community is only slightly larger. She became known for being “like a granny” as soon as she entered the group and the older girls commented on how the way she talked made her sound much older than she was. She is also known for the fact that she cut her hair soon after joining and hasn’t grown it out since- despite often getting bad hairstyles as a result. Aika is also known for her many injuries/illnesses. Almost as soon as she joined, she hurt her foot and had to sit out a concert. Later that spring, it was discovered that she had foot problems and hasn’t been allowed to dance in heels since. (Although recently she’s done some photo shoots in them.) She has also had to sit out a few concerts due to foot problems over the years, and missed some more due to appendicitis. Most recently, she had gotten foot surgery this spring, and has had to sit out much of the summer tour, and has been out of all activities since late July, and will be for the foreseeable future. On a more positive note, many fans like to point out that Aika has some of the biggest boobs out of any current H!P girl, if not the biggest. She has not had many photo books group or otherwise, but they are looked forward to by many fans.

Mizuki Fukumura

A.K.A.- Fuku-hime

Mizuki is known for being a former egg. She’s also known by people who only know Shugo Chara as “that one girl who replaced the original Amulet Heart for those terrible live action segments.” She’s often referred to as being very regal and poised, leading many fans to speculate that she comes from a wealthy family. Fans call her Fuku-hime (Princess Fuku) because of this poise. Fukumura is often seen as the leader figure of the 9th generation, and is shown to get along very well with the older members because she performed with them previously as an egg.

Erina Ikuta

A.K.A.- KY-chan, Eripon

Erina was part of a modeling agency for a little while before joining Morning Musume, so it’s no wonder that she’s known for her posing ability. Erina is not that well liked in Japan, and was hated when she joined the group due to her love of MoMusu’s rival group, AKB48. In the international fan community- the response was more wait and see. There wasn’t much love for her during her first few months in the group, but as soon as fans got to see her KY personality and she became well-loved. She seems to be Sayumi 2.0 with her love of other idols, her shaky singing, her sudden booking on Oha Star (speculated to be a stepping stone to more variety shows), and her cute personality. She was also paired with Sayumi to sing “Rainbow Pink”- well known as a song Sayumi only does with her proteges- which to this point has been only Kusumi Koharu.

Riho Sayashi

A.K.A.- Riho-chan, “the favorite”

Riho is well-loved in Japan, and has been since she was seen in the audition. She has quickly risen to front girl status, and is seen as the professional. The international fans loved her from the audition for being a crazy awesome dancer, but since have become slightly more hostile. While she still has a sizeable international fanbase, there’s a very vocal group of fans who hate her and get mad at her because she’s been pushed to the front of the group lines and screen-time wise. Fans speculate that she may be Ai Takahashi’s spiritual successor after Ai leaves the group. Despite her antics back stage, fans are more likely than not to focus on her more professional image on stage than her craziness off.

Kanon Suzuki

A.K.A.- Zukki, Zucchini

Zukki is known for her crazy personality, her hilarious bug impressions, and her possible dark horse singing ability. She is the youngest Morning Musume member, but is often viewed as one of the funniest. (If not THE funniest.) She isn’t the most popular 9th generation member in Japan, but she is quite well loved internationally due to her antics wherever she goes. While she hasn’t had many opportunities to sing, but from the times we’ve seen her sing, there is speculation that she may be a better singer than we’ve gotten to see. On the other hand, it’s been said that she isn’t the best singer, and was chosen on personality alone.


Hope that helps the more casual fans get into some of the inside jokes/speculation of the more intense fans.


This entry was posted in Hello!Project, Members, Morning Musume, New Members. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Current Morning Musume Members According to Fans For Beginners

  1. says:

    There are a few mistakes in this article– glaring mistakes that I have to address (because it’s problematic when these kinds of articles come around and spread wrong ideas to new fans):

    >>She is known for being a good singer and being very popular in Japan like Ai-chan, but did not catch flack for her large amount of lines until recently. This is most likely due to the fact that international fans have been charmed by her wonky eyes and her badass image, and are willing to forgive her for it.

    Reina has been getting shit about line distribution at least since Resonant Blue, and probably further back before that.

    >Takahashi is the most popular H!P/MM member in Japan

    Nope. Sayumi is and has been for awhile, in part due to her personality/exposure on TV, in part due to her cuteness probably.

    >Almost as soon as she joined, she hurt her foot and had to sit out a concert. Later that spring, it was discovered that she had foot problems and hasn’t been allowed to dance in heels since.

    She just can’t dance in heels (due to lack of skill, I think)

    >leading many fans to speculate that she comes from a wealthy family

    It’s practically confirmed. If you read Sayu’s blog, she practically came right out and said that.

    • midorigirl says:

      1st point- If you look at YouTube comments, fan forums, various wota blogs, etc. she hasn’t gotten hardly any flack directed specifically at her. If it’s devoted to one individual, it’s mostly Ai, not Reina.

      2nd point- According to all reliable measures of popularity, Takahashi is. The Mixi poll– a rating of how many members of social networks have favorited a girl in Japan, she’s pretty far above Sayumi. As of the most recent poll, she’s about 600 points ahead of Sayumi, and since members of H!O started checking in 2007, Sayumi’s never been higher than Takahashi. She has gained on Takahashi, but never caught her. Also, if you look at the Hello!Project store merchandise sales rankings, Sayumi is more often behind Takahashi than not.

      3rd point- It is due to her health reason. If you look at old translated blog entries and news releases from Spring 2007, during her first injury, it was said that she could not dance in heels due to her health problems. She had had foot problems that spring, so unless a problem with another part of her body would be made worse by her dancing in high heels, it would have to be her foot problems. Furthermore, knowing idol groups, if she couldn’t dance in heels due to lack of skill, they’d either not have chosen her, or made her take lessons so that she could.

      • Anon says:

        Even though this article is pretty old, I’d have to agree with blah. Reina got A LOT of hate because of the amount of lines she had. It was definitely directed more towards Ai BEFORE Resonant Blue, but that was because Reina wasn’t quite yet a “front member”. She got lines, but the center/front positions were held by Miki, Ai, and arguably, Koharu aka the “Miracle” member. (Well, that was how she promoted, anyway.)

        It was with Resonant Blue that the amount of lines (and hate) that Reina got increased. The biggest complaint during the “Platinum Era” (2008 – 2010) was that it was pretty much the “Ai and Reina show featuring Morning Musume”. Some fans were understanding (none of the girls get to CHOOSE the amount of lines they get) while others, particularly the international fans who had an even less understanding of how the idol business worked, were not so much. The fact that she didn’t appear “likable” (I’ve seen many complaints ranging from “she looks like a diva/bitch” to “she’s such a camerawhore/fake”) didn’t help her, either.

        But I think the biggest issue was the fact that she was constantly compared to Ai and compared to her, Reina wasn’t that great of a singer. I felt like the amount of hate Ai got peaked around 2005 – 2006, but that was because there were so many “Golden Era” members still around. After they all left, she was the “only” member left that could sing (which were one of the complaints that were said after Miki left) so it was only given that she would get so many lines. But Reina? She was never a front member until after Miki left and was still a moderately OK singer at that point. Unlike Ai, she didn’t have the voice to back her center position or the amount of lines she had. (Again, this isn’t something that I believe, but what many of her haters felt.)

        Because of this, along with many other factors, Reina really was one of the most hated members during the Platinum Era in terms of international fans. (Aika is arguably #1, but she was always in the back and as they say, out of sight, out of mind.) And remember, foreigners love underdogs and Reina certainly wasn’t one of them.

        After EriJunLin graduated, though, the hate for Reina has decreased quite a bit. It was still there up until her graduation (thanks to the “Reina-Riho” leads in the recent Momusu songs), but since she was considered to be the only member left that could actually sing (all the newbies aren’t that bad, but they could use improvement, of course), most people weren’t as worked up about it. (Riho, on the hand… poor girl.)

        Sorry for the long comment. I kind of wrote this in a rush, so if something seems off/missing or there’s a mistake, that’s probably why.

  2. TommyVD says:

    Bookmarking this post for future re-reading.
    It’s perfect.(and quite funny as well particularly the Sayumi bit)
    It’s rare to find an idol blog that’s devoid of irrational and hateful bullshit, especially one that’s on the IW referral list.
    Keep it up!

  3. LSV says:

    Actually, Ai-chan is most loved among fans. Thus the Mixi ranking. Sayumi on the other hand is known by A LOT of people who don’t even care about current Musume. Like, if you ask someone random in Japan, they will most likely know who Sayumi is. But many doesn’t know Ai-chan. In fact many don’t even know that Ai-chan is the leader of MM+HP.

    As for Fuku-chan. Yes, it’s confirmed that she’s from a rich family. Speculated to be from the origin of Okinawan aristocrats but that has not been confirmed. People think it’s true due to the little information obtained from how much her mother cares about modesty, manners and traditions.

    • midorigirl says:

      Well, I don’t know if this was in the post title or something, but this is purely about fan opinion, and not about (and never will be about) Japan as a whole opinion- so from the sample of people I’m talking about, the statement that Ai-chan is the most popular is correct.

  4. glasseyelashes says:

    this was interesting, but my only (small) complaint is aika’s article. i saw no positive anything in it, save for her bust size. you could’ve added that she’s literally obsessed with huskies and big cats (white lions, etc) she’s also one of the better dancers in morning musume, imo. she’s also attached to reina’s hip most of the time. adding things like that would add more to her charm.

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