State of the Musume

One of the songs on my workout mix is Morning Musume’s I Wish. I hate Tsunku’s background vocals, but otherwise it’s a fun song, and a cute video (albeit a bit confusing to anyone who hasn’t seen their weekly television show…). The lyrics made it a popular concert-closer, especially for “graduation” concerts.

Last night, though, I suddenly realized that not only has the group turned over completely since this video was made, only two of them are still actively producing new singles and videos.

In order of appearance:

  1. Ai Kago: career suicide. Her smoking scandal benched her for a year, and just as they started the publicity campaign to bring her back into the family, she got caught returning from a hot springs resort with a notorious womanizer. Latest twist: her mom is now promising to pose nude for a photobook.
  2. Maki Gotou: abruptly retired at the peak of her solo career, allegedly due to burnout.
  3. Natsumi Abe: successful solo artist.
  4. Mari Yaguchi: kicked out of the group, still in the family. Popular television host and actress.
  5. Hitomi Yoshizawa: Retired for family reasons, then resumed a light performance schedule when Tsuji’s sudden ilness turned out to be…
  6. Nozomi Tsuji: retired, married, new mother.
  7. Rika Ishikawa: leader of spinoff group Biyuuden.
  8. Yuuko Nakazawa: actress and occasional solo artist.
  9. Kei Yasuda: recently resurfaced as an actress, still in the family.
  10. Kaori Iida: solo career on hiatus due to pregnancy and subsequent marriage.

Kago’s the only one who really burned her bridges with Hello!Project. Most of the rest still show up occasionally in a concert, a one-shot group, or a few episodes of Uta Doki.