BREAKING NEWS: Idol Group Known For It’s Ever Changing Line-Up to Replace Popular Former Member

Links: The audition announcement (in Japanese)
             The same announcement, but in English and on a different website

Morning Musume ’16 will soon be holding auditions for the 13th generation of members, and this is exciting! I love hearing about new Momusu auditions and I always look forward to seeing the new arrivals and judging them on a first look alone. Usually, an announcement of this kind is met with much the same kind of reaction from the wotadom at large, but not this time, it would appear. Why?

Well, because the fans feel that the management are looking to REPLACE Queen Riho Stormborn, First of Her Name, with a younger girl, or maybe MANY younger girls! And they may be – gasp – PRETTIER than our beloved RihoRiho! And – whisper it – they may have a better singing voice than her. They may even be a better ACE than Riho.

Oh, the HUMANITY! How utterly BARBARIC! The very IDEA that Up-Front would even THINK of replacing a former member of Morning Musume with a complete unknown, some simple little girl with dreams of becoming an idol or starting a career in the entertainment industry!


Oh, hang on a minute, that’s happened before! Fukuda Asuka, 1st gen member of Morning Musume waaaaaay back in the day, graduated suddenly from the group halfway through 1999, and was REPLACED months later with this upstart, Goto Maki. Huh; that sounds familiar…

And what’s this…?


Why, that’s former ace and notorious chipmunk Kusumi Koharu! She was chosen in 2005 to replace Iida Kaori, who had graduated from the group at the start of that year, but also to replace Yaguchi Mari, who had resigned following a scandal. You’ll note the choice of verb I used twice in that last sentence: REPLACE. Because, when we get right down to it, that’s the whole point of these auditions: replacing former members with new ones in order to keep the group going.

I don’t want to push the point further, but I will, just in case there are wota reading this who are slow of brain. Here are two more pictures:


This girl REPLACED both a God-tier member of the group, and an underrated and underused one, AND SHE’S SINCE SURPASSED THEM BOTH!! Where was the outrage for them both?! #justiceforGaki #justiceforAika

And finally:


Management needed not one, not two, but FOUR GIRLS to replace Michishige Sayumi. And listen to how much better at singing they are than she ever was! I’d comment on how prettier than her they are but come on, that’s not true. (Sorry, 12th gen.)

Honestly, I could post a picture of every single girl who won their respective auditions and joined Morning Musume and make a point of saying how they replaced a graduating member, but what would be the point? Until today, I thought that we all knew that Morning Musume’s ‘gimmick’ is adding new generations of members in order to keep the group alive and relevant.

I just don’t see what the huge backlash is about. Yes, I’m sure it’s very sad that Riho has graduated. If you remember older posts on this blog, you’ll know that I have never been Sayashi’s biggest fan. I was well on the way to be her biggest anti, if I’m being brutally honest. I was so happy when she said she would be leaving. My only complaint is why management waited so long to announce the audition.

Riho wota: I get that you’re upset, I do. We all know what it’s like when your oshi announces graduation and all you wanted was for them to remain in the group forever and ever (cough Tamura Meimi cough). Looking at it from your perspective, I guess I can see why it would seem insensitive for UFP to announce the prospect of new members when Riho has only just gone. But for God’s sake, guys, don’t you think you’re being a wee bit over-dramatic here?

Of bloody course they’re replacing Riho! THAT’S ALWAYS BEEN THE CASE WITH MORNING MUSUME GOD ALMIGHTY. But it’s not the end of the world! Management can’t very well NOT add new members. There was a period, several years ago, when there were no graduations in the group for two years. That also coincided with a sharp decline in Morning Musume’s popularity, which has only just started to recover in the last two or three years. If you’re so offended by this decision to keep Morning Musume relevant, then they’re probably not the idol group for you, and you’ll probably be far more interested in a group whose line-up has never ever changed ever.

On a related note, I saw a comment somewhere on the Internet about UFP wanting to add ‘too many girls’ and turning MM into AKB48. I’m not sorry to say that I laughed at this. Really? REALLY?!

  1. Up-Front have only announced an audition for the 13th gen. That’s all.
  2. They have NOT announced the mass addition of 20+ girls all at the same time, which is what AKB48 do a couple of times a year.
  3. Every time UFP have added a new generation to Morning Musume, they have only added between 1-4 girls at a time. Oh no, that will surely turn Momusu into AKB this time!! The lineup will go from 12 to 16 MAXIMUM!
  4. There are around 130 girls in AKB48 alone, and about 500 spread throughout all of the sister groups, both national and international, as well as the rival ’46 groups.
  5. I repeat: a maximum of 16 girls in Morning Musume with the addition of up to 4 girls who’ll make up 13ki. A maximum of 130 girls in just ONE ’48 group.

This statement is so ridiculous that I’m not going to argue it further. For Christ’s sake.

What a weird reaction to a piece of non-news. Good luck to the girls who are auditioning, at any rate! I can’t wait to see the new arrivals!

  1. When I read the title, I thought it was going to be a lot more vitriolic. However, thank goodness it was a lot more sane.

    Thank you for shedding light on the fact that it’s part of Morning Musume’s gimmick to hold auditions and new generations don’t always equate to “oshi replacements.” I think part of the problem is that many fans came in during the “Stable Era” and the “Idol Sengoku Wars” so they become resistant to change. They can’t stand the fact that Morning Musume has an ever-changing lineup and any changes are “turning the group into AKB.”

    There also the fact that (as noted by another blogger) most of MM’s current lineup are in the graduation threshold so we may see a changing of the guard soon anyway. Tenures like Sayumi’s or Ai’s are actually pretty rare, even if Morning Musume is stronger for it. (One problem they ran into in Japan was the public having trouble identifying members, due to the very “revolving door” system that brought them fame.)

    Even then, just because we have new blood coming in doesn’t mean they’ll get pushed RIGHT AWAY. Maki, Riho, and Reina are rare cases where they were made aces right off the bat (and Maki and Reina in particular got major roles in their debut single). It also took our fan favorites (i.e. Kamei) time before they became the highlighted darlings we know them as today. (I remember when Eri was a newbie. Her status came from years of prepping.) For certain members, they have extra years to build hype and chops due to being Kenshuusei.

    I don’t look at it as some sort of apocalypse. I see it as Morning Musume (’16) continuing the tradition. (Who remembers when auditions were an annual thing?) I’m excited for the new blood that comes with the group and it’s frankly why I didn’t “graduate” from the fandom when I said I would, 9th Gen grads becoming a thing aside.

    (Casual reminder that January 2nd was when AiRisa announced their grads! Better an announcement for an AUDITION than another GRADUATION, am I right?)

    Thank you for injecting some sense into this panic and hysteria. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    • Thanks for commenting! You are, of course, absolutely right, and said it a lot better than I could.

  2. Joshua J. Slone said:

    In this instance I’m maybe slightly lucky to have limited net access lately. I haven’t run into overreactions like you mentioned, just a smattering of “They better add (favorite Kenshuusei)!”

    It’s not like this is even a particularly rushed audition. It must be about two years since they announced 12th gen auditions #2? 13th gen probably won’t be visible until 3-4 more singles from now.

  3. As someone who also wasn’t in tears at Riho’s graduation, I saw this audition coming before she even left the group. It’s no surprise, knowing Morning Musume.

    I have nothing against new girls as long as they can bring something to the group, but I do feel like the group is getting a little too big (It’s not AKB at any rate, but how many member colors can we make?), and I wish we could just use the girls we have in the group already.

  4. do you have any kenshuusei you are rooting for?

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