Hot Express recently interviewed Morning Musume members Takahashi Ai, Michishige Sayumi, and Sayashi Riho to talk about graduations, their latest single "Only you", and more for an inside look at the idol group.
Check out parts of the interview below, and make sure to come back for Part 2!
Interviewer: First off, about Kamei Eri, Junjun, and Linlin's graduation on December 15th, 2010. In a way, it's one of the biggest losses that's happened to Morning Musume since Takahashi Ai became leader. How did it make you feel?
Takahashi: Only half a year has passed, but it really feels like something that happened quite a while ago...... Their graduation was a little different from the graduations up until now. We were losing three people at once, and the time we'd done activities together was so long. I always felt like I'd keep doing things with these members, so even when we announced that we'd be losing the three of them at the same time, it didn't hit me until that very day. But at first it sounded like a party. We had a bunch, didn't we?
Michishige: We did!
Interviewer: Having birthday parties before graduating, celebrating... it's so... how do you say it?
Michishige: We got along. We were really close friends.
Takahashi: Yeah, every graduation is impressive, but since the graduation performance was only held at Yokohama Arena - a concert at the end of the very end - there was a sense of accomplishment about that performance... It was a graduation performance we did while treasuring each song one by one.
Michishige: Even when Morning Musume announced the graduation, no one showed any tears until the day of the graduation - not the graduating members, nor anyone around them. But in Eri, Junjun, and Linlin's case, right before the Yokohama Arena performance there was a ton of crying after tour rehearsals.
Interviewer: Was there a member you were especially (close) with?
Takahashi: For Sayu, I felt like she and Eri were partners, so I was worried about Sayu.
Michishige: Ai-chan and Linlin were like sisters. They were super close.
Takahashi: (Junjun and Linlin) lived in a foreign country far from their family where they couldn't use their native language at all for four years, but they weren't discouraged. So I feel like they overcame a lot... I was so happy to tell them, "Thanks for joining Morning Musume" with a smile on my face, crying for them.
Interviewer: Half a month after those three graduated, the four ninth generation members joined. How did you feel when it was decided who would join Morning Musume?
Sayashi: When I applied for my long-awaited audition to Morning Musume, I thought, "I want to join," but even when I passed I didn't really feel as if I had been accepted. I turned so white.
Interviewer: When Takahashi-san joined Morning Musume, Sayashi-san was two or three years old, wasn't she?
Takahashi: That's right. Most girls would choose songs like "LOVE Machine" or "The?Peace!" as their favorite Morning Musume songs, but Sayashi doesn't really know them well. She likes more recent songs.
Interviewer: Was she born when "LOVE Machine" came out?
Takahashi: It was around the time she was born. They're about the same age (laughs).
Interviewer: A week after the ninth generation members were announced, Takahashi Ai announced that she would be graduating. Why are you graduating?
Takahashi: You're straightforward. (laughs) When we had Kamei Eri, Junjun and Linlin's graduation, Tsunku-san told me, "You should think about (graduating) soon too." I've been in Morning Musume for ten years and discovered that there are new things I'd like to do like acting, so... I decided on the timing of my graduation by consulting with those at my company. But as my graduation gradually gets closer, I begin feeling lonely... I really love Morning Musume. Since I decided to graduate, I've come to love it even more. Even if I'm lonely, I can think, "I'm glad I could be in Morning Musume."
Interviewer: What did the two of you think when you heard Takahashi Ai was graduating?
Sayashi: Since I just entered Morning Musume - the senpais I've admired who sing and dance my favorite song 'Kimagure Princess' - when I heard about her graduation I cried. I'm so sad that she'll be graduating this fall because been thinking, "From now on I always want to work together, so let's do our best"...
Michishige: I thought, "What! Again!?" It hadn't even been a month since Junjun, Linlin and Eri left, so... I thought, "Everyone's graduating so steadily! Why?" ...Even though the period (Ai-chan has been leader) is short, I think there are a lot of things to learn, so I'd like the tenth generation to join while Ai-chan is still here.
Interviewer: After this we'll be seeing off summer, and once it becomes fall you'll be graduating. So, what kind of mode are you facing Morning Musume with now?
Takahashi: Right now, I'm a little conflicted. I feel like I have to hurry up and teach them, but I also keep thinking, "But maybe it's better that I still haven't told these girls yet." Maybe everyone wants to see the freshness of the ninth generation, but there's a few things that've been on my mind, and I'm worried about when I should say some things. So I've been discussing it with Gaki-san. But it does make me happy to see them grow up. It's not just the ninth generation; through the younger members, Aika and Reina have really changed and grown up a lot as well.
Source: Hot Express