Twenty Years of Morning Service

Greetings, Citizens of the Universe!

If you’re reading this, then it is (or has been) officially 21:00 on September 14 in Japan. What does that have to do with anything? Well, 20 years and one week before on the program ASAYAN (which aired at 21:00), five finalists from a Sharam-Q audition were given a five days to sell 5,000 copies of their demo single (which they would later do and thus change J-pop history forever, but I’m getting ahead of myself).

The week after that on that same program, that quintet were given their now legendary name: Morning Musume.

Yes, my friends. We have made it to this point, the 20th anniversary of Morning Musume.

In honor of this, in late August, I was crafting a duo of for-funsies tournaments. I was originally going to hold them, but just when I was finalizing things, the group’s 64th single was announced so that threw a wrench into things.

The member tournament is all set up (provided a 15th Gen isn’t announced. It’s been a month since the first part of H!P’s latest audition closed). Granted, due to an uneven set of members in one of the brackets, a Round One matchup has to be held before the rest. I could begin the member tournament if anyone is up for it or hold it for about a month after the 64th single is out so it can be place based on sales (because they’re the be-all and end-all of idol success and the single most determiner of whether or not an idol group is worth it, am I right?).

In the meantime, I revisit the age-old question: How long have you been a Morning Musume fan?

Since I know not everyone is into Facebook, I’ve provided an alternate version of the poll:

My personal answer is easy: come November of this year (2017), 14 (which places me in the “11-15 years” range). The first 11 or so years of my fandom have been documented in the two-part Eleven Years in Morning series of posts.

On another note, in regards to a statement I made on it…

…2007 was the year I became acquainted with the online idol fandom stratosphere and the blogosphere to the point where I began blogging. In fact, I think Mikan might’ve been the first MM PV I reviewed on the old Vox blog.

…I am pleased to report that in the process of looking at the old blog (through the Wayback Machine) and looking for posts to re-cover, I am pleased to report that Mikan is indeed the first Morning Musume review I did on the blog. Wow, still got that great memory! (Expect a revised version to come next month.)

As for now… what could I say? I’ve never expected to be at this point and ditto with Morning Musume. Who ever thought that a group made up of a bunch of finalists would last for 20 years, especially during times when they weren’t at the top of the ladder? It’s… surreal to think that we’re talking about them now, especially with a different lineup from 10 years ago.

Heck, Berryz Kobo’s longevity was so remarkable that they even made a song about it. (It is true: being an idol involves commitment, dedication, and passion, especially if you start young like the H!P Kids. Kudo Haruka herself was around the average age our beloved Berikyu were when they debuted in their main groups (10.75 for BK,
11.57 for C-ute) when she became a Musume.)

When it come to Musume in particular, they usually last around 4-5 years (with the window opening even around 2-3 years, courtesy of some of the earliest graduates) before they head off (with a few only going longer). Granted, 10 years is an increasing mark for a lot of Musume (to the point where given difference between average joining age (12/13) and graduating age (22) is roughly 9 years), but as a group… Morning Musume is still going strong. I know I said I’d “graduate” from the fandom once all of the members that greeted me left, but that has been challenged since the 9th Gen’s appearance (which may be one more reason they have a place in my heart).

I’m at a loss for what to say (to the point that this post was almost delayed because of my inability to think of such things. May also be the fact I sometimes work on this post late at night). Could it be burnout? Could it be I touched upon some of it in the Cirno Day Ice Fairy Appreciation Day post I made a few days ago?

Or could it that there are no better words for today than these two: Happy birthday.

Happy (official) birthday, Morning Musume. Continue to serve the world your unique blend of… youness. May we say “Hello!” to another decade. Here’s to more beautiful (even BRAND NEW) mornings with you.

…And now to prepare for the graduation of the ikemen-type and the single debut of the surprise addition. Again.

Stay brand new,

Sources/Further Reading

One Response to Twenty Years of Morning Service

  1. Chanting says:

    I need to write my own post on this as well. 20 years is rather amazing, and like you said – we’re still talking about the group! Even if the line-up is different, it’s really… something. I was watching someone’s mash-up of all the versions of “Say Yeah! ~Motto Miracle Night~” and I got teary at some bits. I see why the fans voted that as Number 1!!


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