Greetings, Citizens of the Universe!
I had this post in mind for days, but I ran into connection troubles earlier this week (stupid snowstorm) that really wrecked my ability to make this timely. I apologize immensely for the lateness. Anyway, on to business!
The Closing of the Workshop
As we’re well aware of, the Berryz Workshop has closed its doors and its staff have moved on to greener pastures. Announced in August, we had 213 days (7 months and 1 day) to prepare for this fateful day. My thoughts regarding their hiatus can be found in the post linked in the preceding sentence.
Towards the end of February, speculation regarding the members’ post-hiatus activities were put to rest as followed:
- Shimizu Saki: On the 25th, it was announced she would be a Hello! Project Advisor and act as a bridge between members and staff. Her first action in this capacity was helping christen the new Kenshuusei group “Kobushi Factory.”
- Tsugunaga Momoko: It was known for quite a while that Momoko would be participating in Country Girls as a “Playing Manager.”
- Tokunaga Chinami: On the 25th, it was announced that Chinami would be a Hello! Project Advisor alongside Saki.
- Sudou Maasa: On the 27th, Maasa revealed that her position as Playing Manager of Engeki Joshibu (announced on September 17, 2014) was carry on to this day. She also revealed that she intends to focus and study acting during this time.
- Natsuyaki Miyabi: On the 27th, Miyabi revealed she intends to take a small break from show business, but hopes to continue her music career and enter fashion.
- Kumai Yurina: On the 26th, Yurina announced her intention to continue her university studies with an aim towards graduating and pursuing a modeling career afterwards.
- Sugaya Risako: On the 26th, Risako also announced that she would be taking a break from the entertainment industry.
For completion sake, I’ll include Ishimura Maiha: In 2014, she made a resurgence on the entertainment scene after leaving almost a decade earlier. She is now signed with Oscar Promotion.
It’s a little late to say this, but I must: Bye Bye Mata ne, Berryz, and thanks for the memories.
The Opening of the Factory
Just last week, the wait was finally over concerning the name of the brand new Kenshuusei unit: Kobushi Factory. Announced on Hello! Station, the etymology is elaborated via Up-Front Link:
The Japanese tree “Kobushi” (magnolia kobus) is the first of the other trees to have white blossom and announces the coming of the spring. Adding to the rafinement [sic] of the kobushi’s flowers, the origin of the name “Kobushi” is “Nigirikobishi” [sic]* and has the symbol of the strength (clenched fist). So this group has been named with those two meanings . In the language of flowers, Kobushi means: “friendship”, “trust”, “welcome”. With the language of flowers, the color fits perfectly the group. With the “friendship” and “trust” together, the group aims to “welcome” many people. And with Berryz Kobo’s indefinite suspension, and her debut as “Hello! Project Advisor”, Saki Shimizu took part of the decision of this new unit’s name. In order to inherit Berryz Kobo spirit… “Factory” as also been associated.
*This is a typo as it’s “nigirikobushi.” In addition, their first indies single (a double-A side single titled “Nen ni wa Nen/Survivor”) was announced as well. “Survivor” will be the theme song of their first musical, Week End Survivor. The single will be a DVD+CD single with the following content:
- The CD will feature the two A-sides.
- The DVD will feature:
- A live MV version and recording/dance lesson video content of “Nen ni wa Nen.”
- A “Rec & Off-Shot” version of “Survivor.”
- An Engeki Joshibu Week End Survivor pamphlet interview digest.
Talk about swag! Want it? The DVD single will see a theatre-only release on March 26th.
Needless to say, comparisons to the now-departed Berryz were near-inevitable. Is it fair to have these girls be the successors to the grand legacy of the Berryz, which has certainly left a mark on the idol world? The sequence of preliminary events (announcement in January, debut single release in March) certainly point in this direction. However, the true test is lies in what’s ahead.
I’ll end it with the Worldwide Fans’ Tribute to Berryz Koubou, presented by Chuu!Sugoi!Idol:
Stay berry sweet,
P.S. the Workshop may have closed, but the Memorial Survey is still going on (until between March 26 and April 8, though I might close it early if replies slow).