Greetings, Citizens of the Universe!
How has your week been? Well, mine has been filled with feels. It began with me getting the bright idea to hear the song on my jewelry box’s music box and then looking it up on YouTube. (Warning: feels.) It continued with this Breaking Cat News comic that truly left my heart raw. It ended with me finding utter cuteness and a new injection of energy (might’ve been caused by World Smile Day). Those are just the feline feels.
All of this was compounded with an intense case of blackout, introspection, and the rainy day blues. That last one can be attributed to Hurricane Joaquin coming through. I’m still salty over missing the Super Blood Moon due to overcast conditions. Did I mention yet another shooting happened here in the States? (Ironically, the day after that was the International Day of Non-Violence.)
Know what else can cause blues? Graduations. Welcome to this next installment of “The Price of the ‘Sotsugyou'” where I try to answer the following:
…is there a correlation between graduations and high sales? Rather, the question would be “What effect do graduations have upon overall sales?“
Well, I decided to answer this using Morning Musume as an example. Last week, I began to take a deeper and chronological look starting with the first 9 graduation singles and their respective departees. This week, I will begin continue to do this with the next 9 graduation singles and their respective departees: Ishikawa Rika (and Yaguchi Mari), Konno Asami & Ogawa Makoto, Yoshizawa Hitomi (and Fujimoto Miki), Kusumi Koharu, Kamei Eri & JunLin*, Takahashi Ai, Niigaki Risa (and Mitsui Aika), Tanaka Reina, and Michishige Sayumi.
First off, let’s look at the chart below.
Click on the chart for a full view.
The data and associated charts (eheh ^^;) can be found in this spreadsheet. The source of the data is generasia and the Hello! Project Wikia.
Certainly quite a mix, yes? As such, I’d expect a good portion of you to be somewhat familiar with the material seen here. Somewhat and I say that because a good portion of the fanbase came during the Stable Years, thus likely having had a jolt when Kusumi Koharu’s graduation was announced. Plus, it’s a relatively more even set-up than the chart from last week. Without singles like “LOVE Machine” to throw off the data, the data can paint a clearer image for as Ray put it:
…the group’s fortunes have steadied out by then and the numbers will certainly provide an even more illuminating picture.
Allow me to make like Mike Rowe in one of my favorite old-school shows on History Channel and take this to the extreme:
By First Week Sales
By Total Sales
Interestingly enough, it is still the newer material that is dominant here. Either this could be due to a refamiliarization with graduations, the marketing practices of UFA, or the various member themselves is to be seen. Speaking of which, let’s dig into…
The Individual Grads
Continuing from last week.
Note: Due to Do It! Now, Ai Araba IT’S ALL RIGHT, Roman ~MY DEAR BOY~, and Namida ga Tomaranai Houkago (which lack first week sales data) appearing within many of their tenures, anyone who joined before 2005 will only have their total sales calculated.
Ishikawa Rika (and Yaguchi Mari)
Graduation Single: Osaka Koi no Uta
Ishikawa Rika’s graduation was announced in May 2004 (alongside Iida Kaori’s). Given that she was set to begin activities with v-u-den (whose formation was announced around graduation), it was somewhat expected. V-u-den would later disband in June 2008, coincidentally the weekend after my high school graduation. (Also coincidental was that the unit formed shortly before I started high school.)
Yaguchi Mari was set to take up leadership of Morning Musume in light of Iida’s graduation, but she was FRIDAYed and subsequently quit.
(To those who don’t know, FRIDAY is a tabloid that is somewhat infamous in the Hello! Project fandom for publishing scandalous articles of members that often result in graduations. Mari, like future potential leader Miki, was photographed with a guy and felt she was unfit to carry on the idol image of MM.)
Due to the suddenness of Mari’s graduation, she was still featured on “Osaka Koi no Uta.”
Between Summer Night Town and THE Manpower!!!, there is an average of 434,019 total sales with a sum of 10,416,466. Between Shabondama and THE Manpower!!!, the average is 717,589 and the sum is 102,513.
The difference between THE Manpower!!! and Osaka Koi no Uta is a decrease of approximately 15.505% for total sales.
The sales of its successor single, Iroppoi Jirettai, was an increase of approximately 43.236% for total sales.
Konno Asami and Ogawa Makoto
Graduation Single: Ambitious! Yashinteki de Ii Jan
Konno Asami and Ogawa Makoto’s graduations were announced on April 28, 2006. Konno intended to also leave H!P to focus on getting into university. Ogawa also graduated for study-related reasons (to study English abroad), but remained in H!P.
Konno graduated on July 30, 2006 during the Hello! Project Summer Tour. Ogawa’s graduation ceremony was held on August 27 during a performance of Ribbon no Kishi the Musical. Konno would later be the only H!P graduate to return (though she would later leave the Project and UFA years later). Ogawa’s also not in UFA anymore as of March 2015.
Between Mr. Moonlight ~Ai no Big Band~ and SEXY BOY ~Soyokaze ni Yorisotte~, there was an average of 161,033 total sales with a sum of 2,737,569.
The difference between SEXY BOY ~Soyokaze ni Yorisotte~ and Ambitious! Yashinteki de Ii Jan is a decrease of approximately 3.099%.
The sales of its successor single, Aruiteru, was an increase of approximately 18.098% for total sales. Not relatively bad for the prelude of the Idol Sengoku Period.
Yoshizawa Hitomi (and Fujimoto Miki)
Graduation Single: Kanashimi Twilight
Yoshizawa Hitomi became leader following the resignation of Yaguchi Mari. Her graduation was announced on January 2, 2007, which commenced on May 6.
Fujimoto Miki was set to take the reins, much to the delight and excitement of the fandom. However, like Yaguchi, those hopes were dashed when she was FRIDAYed. The Matrix of Leadership was then passed to Takahashi Ai and the rest is history.
2007 is a difficult year for me to write about because it was an emotionally tumultuous one for me. (Ah, adolescence.) Moving on…
Between Happy Summer Wedding and Egao YES Nude, there is an average of 258,642 total sales with a sum of 6,207,419. Between Shabondama and Egao YES Nude, the average is 79,723 and the sum is 1,116,122.
The difference between Egao YES Nude and Kanashimi Twilight is an increase of approximately 15.600% in overall sales.
The sales of its successor single, Onna ni Sachi Are, was a decrease of approximately 17.140% for total sales.
Graduation Single: Kimagure Princess
One of H!P’s more polarizing members since joining in 2005. Announced on September 19, 2009 and commencing on December 6, Kusumi Koharu’s graduation announcement was a momentous occasion. Not only was the graduation a shock to her fans, but it marked the end of Morning Musume’s most stable lineup yet. Considering the fact that Kusumi was one of MM and H!P’s most polarizing members, reasons for shock were mostly either her graduation or the graduation period.
Plus, this was around the time when various idol groups were popping up left and right, especially with the intense domination of the 48G.
Between Iroppoi Jirettai and Nanchatte Renai, there was an average of 44,664 first week sales with a sum of 625,292. For total sales, the average is 4,898 while the sum is 768,574.
The difference between Nanchatte Renai and Kimagure Princess is a decrease of approximately 34.015% for first week sales and approximately 35.645% for total sales.
The sales of its successor single, Onna ga Medatte Naze Ikenai, was a decrease of approximately 0.290% for first week sales and 0.831% for total sales.
Kamei Eri, Junjun, and Linlin
*Admittedly, I shortened their names to “JunLin” for convenience sake.
Graduation Single: Onna to Otoko no Lullaby Game
The graduation of Kamei Eri, Junjun, and Linlin was announced on August 8, 2010, simultaneous to the 9th Generation auditions. Kamei’s graduation had a medical reason (a form of eczema that was being exacerbated by the makeup used over the course of her idol career). JunLin’s graduation had to with… their growth as women and entertainers.
They all graduated on December 15, 2010. In terms of member count, this triple graduation was the largest of its kind in Morning Musume history. It remains to be the only triple graduation in MM history.
Between Shabondama and Seishun Collection there was an average of 66,946 total sales with a sum of 1,673,642.
Between Onna ni Sachi Are and Seishun Collection there was an average of 41,132 first week sales with a sum of 411,315. For total sales, the average is 49,620 while the sum is 496,198.
The difference between Seishun Collection and Onna to Otoko no Lullaby Game is an increase of approximately 24.275% for first week sales and 18.334% for total sales.
The sales of its successor single, Maji Desu ka Ska!, was a decrease of approximately 20.533% for first week sales and 15.154% for total sales. One possible explanation is the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami, which affected the general purchasing mood. (Indeed, it’s why this single’s release was pushed back a month.)
Graduation Single: Kono Chikyuu no Heiwa wo Honki de Negatterun da yo!
On January 9, 2011, a whole week after the (9)th Gen joined Morning Musume, then-leader Takahashi Ai announced her graduation. This occurred on September 30.
Her graduation single started (or rather, restarted) the trend of giving the departing member a special song for her graduation. On a special note, Takahashi’s graduation song, Jishin Motte Yume wo Motte Tobitatsu Kara, became the vocal training song for the 10th Gen audition. Fittingly enough, the winners’ reveal came the eve of Takahashi’s graduation. It was also used as the audition song for aspiring guitarists looking to jam with Reina.
Between Mr. Moonlight ~Ai no Big Band~ and Only you there was an average of 105,328 total sales with a sum of 3,581,153.
The difference between Only you and Kono Chikyuu no Heiwa wo Honki de Negatterun da yo is an increase of approximately 36.453%. To compare, there is an approximate 0.612% negative difference between Maji Desu ka Ska! and Only you, along with the aformentioned decrease of approximately 15.154% Maji Desu ka Ska! and Onna to Otoko no Lullaby Game. The average of all of that is (approximately) -0.072%, making this a slight slump period.
The sales of its successor single, Pyocopyoco Ultra, was a decrease of approximately 38.06% for total sales.
Niigaki Risa (and Mitsui Aika)
Graduation Single: Renai Hunter
On January 2, 2012, Niigaki Risa announced her graduation with the intention of studying acting. On May 4, Mitsui Aika announced her graduation for medical reasons.
Due the suddenness of the announcement, Mitsui Aika didn’t recieve a special commeorative song or “single” (though I doubt her haters would mind. She’s reportedly among the least popular of Musume, but I may be wrong. I’m among proof of that!). Closest to that was a performance of her solo song, “Watashi no Miryoku ni Kizukanai Donkan na Hito,” during her graduation concert on May 18.
Between Mr. Moonlight ~Ai no Big Band~ and Pyocopyoco Ultra there was an average of 101,968 total sales with a sum of 3,670,846.
Between Egao YES Nude and Pyocopyoco Ultra there was an average of 40,905 first week sales with a sum of 695,392. For total sales, the average is 48,848 while the sum is 830,424.
The difference between Pyocopyoco Ultra and Renai Hunter is an increase of approximately 58.390%.
The sales of its successor single, One•Two•Three / The Matenrou Show, was an increase of approximately 104.335% for total sales. This is no doubt the result of the extensive advertising campaign for said single. Said campaign also set the precedent for future ad campaigns for singles.
Graduation Single: Brainstorming / Kimi Sae Ireba Nani mo Iranai
On November 19, 2012, Tanaka Reina’s graduation was announced in conjunction with the results of a rock unit audition held during the summer. The graduation took place on May 21, 2013 and the rest is history in the form of LoVendoЯ.
Between Shabondama and Help me!! there was an average of 65,821 total sales with a sum of 2,237,923.
The difference between Help me!! and Brainstorming / Kimi Sae Ireba Nani mo Iranai is an increase of approximately 2.640%.
The sales of its successor single, Wagamama Ki no Mama Ai no Joke / Ai no Gundan, was an increase of approximately 48.964% for total sales.
Graduation Single: TIKI BUN / Shabadaba Doo~ / Mikaeri Bijin
On April 29, 2014, Michishige Sayumi announced her graduation during the spring tour concert held in her native Yamaguchi Prefecture. The event commenced on November 26 with great fanfare and changing of the guards.
On a related note, this was the first graduation since Morning Musume’s new “name change” rotation. On a more selfish note, this graduation was also the first one since M3 came out of hiatus that February and thus it (and its single) became the subjects of their own respective posts.
Between Shabondama and Toki wo Koe Sora wo Koe / Password is 0 there was an average of 73,592 total sales with a sum of 2,796,511.
The difference between Toki wo Koe Sora wo Koe / Password is 0 and TIKI BUN / Shabadaba Doo~ / Mikaeri Bijin is an increase of approximately 7.451%.
The sales of its successor single, Seishun Kozou ga Naiteiru / Yuugure wa Ameagari / Ima Koko Kara, was a decrease of approximately 23.413% for total sales.
Appropriately, the current M3 Mystery is the voices of Hello! Project idols. Like graduations, I know this is a strong topic for many of you so feel free to leave your opinions (and even facts!).
Also, there’s also the Chuu!Sugoi!Idol Fukuda Kanon fan tribute.
Until next time!