Graduation: Friends Forever?

Greetings, Citizens of the Universe!

How has your week been? Mine has been relatively uneventful, between the typical influx of followers and perusing of social media. I also had a minor time when I was burned out from working on comic pages all summer. The Ice Fairy Festival went by quietly, though I’d later discover that it ended on C-ute Day. (Fortunately, it was early morning in New Jersey. We’d also get more information regarding the new single, which did wonders for that post I made earlier that week.)

The day after that was the anniversary of Juice=Juice’s major debut, a great cause for celebration. Afterwards was the early celebration of my brother’s birthday and the aforementioned but thankfully brief burnout period.

Okay, now on to business! The nexus of this post was something that crossed my mind a week ago. thenumber244’s wonderful review of Morning Musume ’15’s 59th single mentioned a sobering fact:

…the current longest tenured generation, the ninth generation, are well past the median tenure length for Morning Musume and have released as many singles with the group as Tsuji Nozomi, Kago Ai, Fujimoto Miki, and Kusumi Koharu. If you think they haven’t been in the group long enough to warrant a graduation, you’re wrong.

Yes, you’ve read right: the (9)th Generation have reached the threshold of graduation. Yes, just as they take the center stage). Before you go into Panic Mode or think I’m attacking them, during our conversation in the comments, thenumber244 echoed these mutual sentiments (which this post can be considered an extension of):

I hate thinking about graduations too much, because it feels like my girl’s time is running out. So, yes. Just enjoy the time we have- which is the point, right?

It is. Like I said in my reply, what is the point of an aspiring idol working herself to exhaustion to enter a group (or the business period) when all her fanbase can think about is when she leaves?

An April Fool’s prank on Tumblr this year was a fake graduation announcement from Iikubo Haruna. A confession said that all Morning Musume fans can think about is who’s going to graduate next:

Thank goodness that this and the other “confessions” in this post has had some pretty sane responses. Kudos to you!
(You can see them by clicking on the image.)

Heck, UFA wasn’t helping matters either with the name of Morning Musume’s Spring Tour (while a valid term relating to color and music) coincidentally being one letter away from “GRADUATION”. At times, I even mistaked it as such. (I reiterate, this is simply a coincidence!)

Graduation. Graduation. Graduation.

Have we become so dissatisfied with H!P, so plateauing in our experience that our greatest past-time is guessing who’s next to leave? Granted, it is inevitable that they do and it’d be silly to not consider it. However, if all we look forward to is the idol jumping ship, then what is the point of giving her or support and welcoming her? Conversely, this is when people are complaining about the amount of “newbies” in Hello! Project proper and are chewing their fingers to see their favorite Kenshuusei debut.

Then there’s stuff like these:

Look, I know everyone is entitled to an opinion and everyone’s not going to be “love ’em all” kind of a fan like me. However, this doesn’t change the fact that wishing an idol would graduate because you feel she’s “dead weight” is sure to ruffle feathers. How would you feel if someone said that about your oshi? It’d leave you miffed, right?

Well, I have some news for you: you’ll have to bear with them because like word suggests, they’ll move on to the next life phase. Many of these idols are school-aged and there’s an increasing number of idols who are in university. (Country Girls’ Play Manager Momoko Tsugunaga is a university graduate. With her degree, she could go into teaching and is probably applying said skills to running CG.) While thinking up this post, I looked to Kusumi Koharu, who famously admitted that she viewed her time in H!P as a stepping stone in her modelling career. I didn’t know whether to admire her for her career plans or be angry with her slapping her fans in the face. (The latter might have more to do with what she said regarding said fans….)

I know being an idol is a transient time and that’s the beauty of them. In fact, the act of being idols for a lengthy period of time was the subject of one of the most introspective and foreboding songs in H!P memory. Trigger warning: Berryz Koubou.

As I write this, it has been now half a year since the Berryz went on indefinite hiatus and Fukuda Kanon’s graduation looms on the horizon. Bear in mind that both the Berryz and Maro have been in the game for at least a year before their major debut. In fact, Fukuda Kanon joined H!P (as a 1st Gen H!P Egg) the same year BK was formed and S/mileage was formed when BK was 5 years old.

(The H!P Kids were announced in late June of 2002. Berryz Koubou was formed in March 2004. According to Time and Date, they spent one year, eight months, and three days as proto-Eggs.)

However, enough about that. All that data serves is to justify the decisions. Let’s just concentrate on enjoying the time we have with our idols. Please? As Shimamura Uta’s ballad shows, an idol’s time in the limelight can be very momentary. Unlike Otsuka Aina (who we’ve seen in an audition and as a Kenshuusei), we didn’t have those luxuries to bond with Shimamura until she was announced.


At least we have the chance to know that our idols will live semi-normal lives, unlike the tragic case of Yanagihara Hiromi. She has the distinction of (thankfully) being the only Hello! Project member to die while under contract. (Hopefully, she’ll stay the only one. May the following scene never happen again.)

These girls are with us for only a short time. Instead of speculating when they’ll leave and anticipating a graduation announcement with every public event, let us enjoy the time we have? It just might be a final moment!

(How appropriate that I talk about this around the time of the one-year anniversary of Ladies’ Code’s tragic accident. May the Hello! Project J-idol fandom be spared these sorts of tragedies so that both idol and idol fan can cherish their time on Earth.)

On a far less morbid note, this week’s discussion is about idol fandom gateways. You can spend just as much time talking about how you got into a fandom as you speculate when an idol gets out of a group!

Until next time!
— Magi-Kat

7 Responses to Graduation: Friends Forever?

  1. […] Some listeners felt that, combined with the songs on their previous single, C-ute was dropping hints of a possible “indefinite hiatus.” If I may be frank, I expected this kind of news around their September concerts. Either way, instead of speculating about when they’ll leave, let’s just enjoy the C-uties while we have them. After all, what’s the point of appreciating their efforts and cheering them on if all we do is think abou… […]


  2. […] as an unintended “graduation” theme started to develop in my posts: the first was a plea to the panicmongers that came out far more emotional than intended. (It was calm, but then I decided to emphasize […]


  3. […] The first thing that came to me was TheNumber244’s review of MM15’s “Ima Sugu Tobikomu Yuuki” and this quote, which inspired my related post about grad scaremongering: […]


  4. […] let’s enjoy Momoko (and the rest of the girls) while we still have them around, hmm? What’s the point of—you get the […]


  5. […] All the more reason to enjo— you get the picture. […]


  6. […] nobody wants to bear. As I mentioned in my comment on Kame’s post, this was one big reason I made my plea to enjoy an idol’s time while we can. It’s awful knowing that Country Musume’s first lineup change was the result of a […]


  7. […] On the other hand… even if you know all of them will leave someday (heck, every member from my gateway lineup has graduated as of November 2014. In fact, more than one fan noted that Haruka’s announcement was made on the same date as Sayumi’s), it’s still a sad moment. The fact this was preceded by thinking of Kudo Haruka (admiring the work I’ve done on her PuffMusu pic. Seriously, I worked my butt off getting the plaid right!) and the aforementioned thunderstorm made it worse. (I just hope that neither Ikuta Erina or Iikubo Haruna, who both succeed Suzuki Kanon and Kudo Haruka in the series, are next…. ****. Time to pull out that post again!) […]


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