Hello Pro Kenshūsei Tokyo
Hello Pro Kenshūsei Hokkaido
In 1997, Japanese rock group Sharam Q, fronted by Tsunku, began auditions for a female vocalist. These auditions aired via the reality show Asayan, and resulted in Michiyo Heike being crowned winner. Tsunku, however, decided to give five of the runners-up, Yuko Nakazawa, Natsumi Abe, Kaori Iida, Asuka Fukuda and Aya Ishiguro, a chance to become a group in their own right. The girls were set the task of selling 50,000 copies of their demo single "Ai no Tane," in just five days. The girls sold the required number of copies in four days, and subsequently became an official group.
Morning Musume's debut single, "Morning Coffee," was released on January 28, 1998 on the One Up Music label and charted at #6 on the Oricon weekly chart. The group's first official appearance was a joint live in August 1998, at Shibuya Public Hall (now Shibuya C.C. Lemon Hall), under the name "Michiyo Heike and Morning Musume," (平家みちよとモーニング娘。) the fan club of the two acts was called "Hello!" The first official "units" were Tanpopo and Petitmoni, created in October 1998. The first "Michiyo Heike & Morning Musume Imotōbun Audition" took place, resulting in the "second generation" of Morning Musume to be added, made up of Sayaka Ichii, Mari Yaguchi and Kei Yasuda.
In January 1999, auditions for Country Musume were held on "Idol o Sagase!" (アイドルをさがせ!, Search For an Idol!). In April of that year the girls' official fan club was renamed "Hello! Project." Auditions were once again held on Asayan between April and July, resulting in Taiyō to Ciscomoon and Coconuts Musume, with Country Musume's official formation announced. In July, the first live concert of Hello! Project, "Hello! Project '99 at Yokohama Arena," was held.
The first shuffle units were formed in March 2000, releasing the "theme" of Hello! Project as a B-side. The first Hello! Project television show, "Hello! Morning," was created in April.
In March 2001, Morning Musume co-founder and leader Yuko Nakazawa announced her graduation from the group. The actual graduation took place in April, and Nakazawa was subsequently named as leader of the entirety of Hello! Project. Nakazawa's was the first graduation in the history of Hello! Project, and garnered considerable media attention as a result, the first time the group had truly caught the attention of the mainstream press.
Between April and June 2002, the first, and to date only, Hello! Project Kids auditions were held. These auditions resulted in the future members of Japanese idol groups Berryz Kobo and C-ute, who would go on to debut in March 2004 and February 2007 respectively, also spawning offshoot auditions such as auditions for Hello! Pro Egg and Hello! Project Kansai. On July 31, 2002, a major reform of all of the groups within Hello! Project began, which was referred to as "Haromageddon" (ハローマゲドン) (a pun on Hello (ハロー, Harō) and Armageddon (ハルマゲドン, "Harumagedon")) and "the 7/31 incident" by fans.
In February 2006, former Morning Musume member and sub-leader of duo W, Ai Kago was caught smoking in public while underage. She was also suspected of dating a much older man. Kago was suspended from her activities and eventually began to attempt a return.
On March 26, 2007, Kago was again caught smoking. Her contract was terminated and she had no graduation ceremony, as had become standard for exiting members.
In June, it was announced that Asami Konno, who had graduated from Hello! Project a year prior to study at university, would be returning. Konno became the first person to have graduated from Hello! Project to return.
In October, Tsunku established a new unit, the Nice Girl Project!, as well as The Possible, a group made up of Hello! Pro Eggs.
Soon after, Maki Goto, who had been inactive for some time, graduated from Hello! Project as a soloist. She later transferred to Avex.
In February 2007, Cute officially debuted with the single Sakura Chirari.
In 2007, Hello! Project started the Taiwanese "Morning Family New Star Audition"; an audition aimed at recruiting new Taiwanese members to join Hello! Project.
In April 2008, the debut of Hello! Project Kansai group Sina (SI☆NA) was announced. The group never actually debuted, though they occasionally appeared on television shows and radio they have never recorded a song.
In September it was announced that, as a result of the Taiwanese auditions, the group Ice Creamusume (アイスクリー娘。) would be formed, consisting of six members. Duo Francis & Aiko, both still only children, was also announced from the same audition.
On October 19, 2008, Hello! Project announced its entire Elder Club would be graduating on March 31, 2009.
2008 also marked the first time in a decade that Morning Musume had not performed at the annual Kōhaku Uta Gassen event, after ten consecutive appearances. The only Hello! Project member to appear on that year's show was Mai Satoda, marking the first appearance of a member of Country Musume.
In February 2009, it was announced that Hello! Project would begin a series of auditions in South Korea.
On February 1, 2009, at the Yokohama Arena, Hello! Project held its largest concert ever—the Hello! Pro Awards '09: Elder Club Graduation Special (決定！ハロ☆プロアワード’０９ ～エルダークラブ卒業記念スべシャル～, Kettei! Hello Pro Awards '09: Elder Club Sotsugyō Kinen Special)—featuring 21 groups and 72 members. Former Morning Musume member Nozomi Tsuji performed in her first official event in a year and nine months, after marrying actor Taiyō Sugiura in June 2007 and giving birth to her daughter, Noa, that November. During the concert, former Hello! Project leader Yuko Nakazawa passed her leadership position to Morning Musume leader Ai Takahashi. This mass-graduation caused another large surge of fan backlash, resulting in even more fanclub cancellations and merchandise boycotts, and is considered the "third coming of Haromageddon".
Later in 2009, several of the old, dormant units were revived. Tanpopo, Minimoni, Petitmoni, ZYX, Aa! and v-u-den all returned with new line-ups, and High-King returned from hiatus with its original members. These groups became a new concert unit, "Champloo".
In April 2009, Tsunku announced a new group consisting of four Hello! Pro Egg members, named S/mileage. They would later go on to have their official debut in May 2010 with the single 'Yume Miru 15'.
In August 2009, Morning Musume released their 40th single, 'Nanchatte Ren'ai'.
On September 30, 2011, Ai Takahashi graduated and handed her position as leader of Morning Musume and Hello! Project over to Risa Niigaki.
In 2011, the most members were added since Hello! Project Kids back in 2002 - Morning Musume's 9th generation in January, S/mileage's 2nd generation in August, and Morning Musume's 10th generation in September.
On January 2, at the Hello! Project 2012 Winter concert, Morning Musume leader Risa Niigaki announced that she would graduate at the end of Morning Musume's 2012 Spring tour.
In July 2012, Morning Musume released their 50th single, 'One Two Three / The Matenrō Show'.
In the last concert of the Winter 2013 Hello! Project concert, a new unit consisting of Hello! Pro Kenshuusei members Miyamoto Karin, Kanazawa Tomoko, Uemura Akari, Otsuka Aina and Takagi Sayuki, and Miyazaki Yuka was announced, although it has been stated that this is not the definitive lineup and members may change before their official debut. It was subsequently announced on February 25 that the new unit would be called Juice=Juice and it would soon release its first indie single. At a Hello Project concert series held on March 2–3, Juice=Juice already premiered the song.
* All except Fukumura have been leaders of their respective groups since formation.
Leaving Hello! Project is referred to as graduating (卒業, sotsugyō). There is also the possibility of a singer graduating from a subgroup and remaining in Hello! Project as a soloist.
A graduation is a member's final performance either with Morning Musume or one of its many subgroups or associated acts, in which case they are either beginning a solo career or forming a new group within Hello! Project— or, rarely, leaving the Hello! Project umbrella entirely. These departures are usually voluntary and amicable.
The magazine Friday has, on three occasions, published photographs of Morning Musume members that have caused them either to quit the group or be fired. These members are Mari Yaguchi, Miki Fujimoto and Ai Kago. Because of these "scandals," and their subsequent sudden departures from the group, Mari Yaguchi and Miki Fujimoto are the only members of Morning Musume to have not undergone a "graduation ceremony" from the band before starting or resuming a solo career. Yaguchi was photographed with her then-boyfriend Shun Oguri in 2005, and although 22 at the time, she left voluntarily, stating that she could not maintain the "idol" image required to stay in the group. Yaguchi did have a graduation ceremony three years earlier when she departed MiniMoni, the subgroup she co-founded, in 2002, but did not receive another. Fujimoto was photographed with her boyfriend Shōji Tomoharu (whom she later married) in 2007. Ai Kago, although having a graduation ceremony from Morning Musume, did not have a ceremony for leaving Hello! Project, since her repeated scandals resulted in her contract being dissolved and later being fired from the agency.
All four of the main groups in Hello! Project (Morning Musume, Berryz Kobo, Cute and S/mileage) have all had at least one graduation within the group.
Conversely, Melon Kinenbi, Juice=Juice, Kobushi Factory and are the only former and current groups in the history of Hello! Project to not undergo a graduation or other personnel change in its entire existence.
On March 31, 2009, the entire 'Elder Club' Hello! Project Concert unit graduated from Hello! Project. This included group Melon Kinenbi and soloists such as Natsumi Abe and Aya Matsuura.Hello! Morning (ハロー!モーニング。) on TV Tokyo
Utaban (うたばん) on TBS
Haromoni@ (ハロモニ＠) on TV Tokyo
Yorosen! (よろセン!) on TV Tokyo
Hello Pro! Time (ハロプロ!TIME) on TV Tokyo
Hello! SATOYAMA Life (ハロー! SATOYAMA ライフ) on TV Tokyo
The Girls Live
MBS Young Town Saturday on MBS Radio (the Kansai area)
HelloPro Yanen! on ABC Radio
Hello! Project Station (2013-?)
Ribbon no Kishi: The Musical (August 1, 2006 – August 27, 2006)
Cinderella: The Musical (2008)
Fashionable: The Musical (2010)
Hello! Project Daiundōkai (March 31, 2001 at Saitama Super Arena)
Hello! Project Daiundōkai (November 3, 2002 at Osaka Dome)
Hello! Project Sports Festival 2003 (November 16, 2003 at Osaka Dome)
Hello! Project Sports Festival 2003 (November 22, 2003 at Tokyo Dome)
Hello! Project Sports Festival 2004 (November 14, 2004 at Toyota Stadium)
Hello! Project Sports Festival 2004 (December 5, 2004 at Saitama Super Arena)
Hello! Project Sports Festival 2006 ~Hello!Diva Athlete~ (March 19, 2006 at Saitama Super Arena)