When they leave us…

The first h!p graduation that really affected me was Konno Asami’s in the summer of 2006. I was just beginning to pay attention to individual members, and it was adorable Konno who stood out. So because I realized that she would be leaving h!p and I could no longer watch her grow and perform, it was a very personal graduation for me. After seeing a few more graduation concerts (Ishimura Maiha’s, Nono and Aibon’s and Iida Kaori’s), I came to think of graduations as sources of only negative feelings.

Thus when my all-time h!p favorite (Yossy) announced that she was graduating from Morning Musume, I was sure that nothing good could come of it. After all, I reasoned to myself, wasn’t Yossy the only member of Morning Musume I liked? Could I still listen to Momusu without my favorite member’s presence? I was already preparing to forget about Morning Musume.

However, something amazing happened. Instead of making me lose all interest in the group, Yossy’s graduation helped me to see the potential and talents of other members. Before her graduation, they were all eclipsed by Yossy’s presence and I could see only her. I had no second favorite within the group and couldn’t even tell most of their voices apart. But when Yoshizawa graduated, the other girls presented themselves to me in a whole different light. The first person about whom my opinion changed was Kamei Eri.


Before Yossy’s graduation Kamei was one of the few current members to have caught my attention at all. This was because I had read that she used to have a shy character, then underwent a transformation of sorts and become more social and such. That sort of change appealed to me. However, she didn’t stand out to me physically in any sense; I didn’t think she had much presence within the group and quickly disregarded her to go fangirl over some Yossy performances. Now? She’s my favorite current member, and perhaps my 3rd favorite member of H!P, overall. I would never have discovered just how much I love this girl had Yoshizawa not graduated when she did (Oh, and Eri’s Maple photobook probably helped a bit, too).


Michishige Sayumi was the next girl about whom my opinion changed upon Yossy’s graduation. Before, I held little opinion on Sayu beyond “Oh, she can’t sing very well and thus she annoys me. Plus I don’t know why everyone says she’s so cute”. Now that there’s no Yossy around to overshadow her, Sayu has suddenly taken on another dimension in my eyes: She’s become sexy (Sayumi is secretly the sexiest member of Morning musume). I’ve even started liking her singing voice- to a degree. And now I can see why everyone thinks she’s so cute: She really is!


Reina may be the only member to have not benefited in my mind when Yossy left. I had to take notice of Reina now that Yossy had left, since she began to be pushed to the front more. And I didn’t like what I saw. I could devote a whole page towards figuring out exactly what it is about Reina that grates on me so much- her apparent dropping of the Yanki personality, her constant winking (I’m starting to worry that she should see a doctor about it) or just her voice when she tries to make it sound all cutesy- but that is perhaps the subject of another post.

In short? I’ve come to realize that the graduation of a member- whether they be your favorite, the one you never noticed, or the member you love to hate- is not nessecarily a bad thing. In my case, it was a very, very good thing indeed.


6 Responses to When they leave us…

  1. Andy says:

    Heh! You sound like me. When Yossy was still in the group, I only ever noticed her. I’d watch the PVs looking for a glimpse of her hand in the corner of the shot or whatever and ignore everyone else. Now that she’s gone, Eri’s become my favorite member too. And I can’t. Stand. Reina. Her voice sounds like a bleating sheep. Why does nobody ever seem to notice this?

  2. peachyusagi says:

    @Andy: Amazing, you’re like my h!p twin! I have the same opinion on Reina, though I hadn’t realized that animal-ish quality of her voice (although my sheep have quite lovely voices!).

  3. Andy says:

    Heh. No offence meant to your sheep. Sheep-voices are perfectly fine in sheep.

  4. peachyusagi says:

    Yup! But not in Morning Musume members.

  5. I must say I was astonished when I first saw a graduation, that one being Abe Natsumi’s in the 2004 Winter concert. DVD The ending of that concert could well be the best ending of any concert in music history. I wondered why everyone was so lit up and why Morning Musume was so amped up and … come to find out it was Abe’s last performance with the group.

    Then the glowsticks came out, and the incessant chant for Abe. She finally showed up and cried all the way through it, then the rest of the group cried all the way through it, then Nono practically collapsed and could not be comforted by her colleagues.

    Then, to find out it has happened many times and, yes, the Konno one really got to me because they sang that song that had been shelved by Tsunku for so many years, the one that Mako, Risa, Aichan and Konno did together during many a Morning Musume concert. all four of those 4th gen starlets back for one last hurrah (because Mako went out with Konno, you know, to New Zealand never to be heard from again).

    Then, a year before that Charmy and Kaori went down, and then in 2007, Yossie said farewell, only we know the story there; Yossie to resurface with a vengeance with Gatas, only to pull Konno and Charmy in with her! Damn! To see all of them kick it inside Yokohama Arena on Jan. 26-27, the Graduated Ones Who Returned!

    As Yossie and Morning Musume kept singing at the end of Sexy 8: “Keep thinking pos-i-tive … Keep thinking pos-itive” and that is just what they have done.

    They might graduate, but they never fade away.


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