Morning Musume ’14 Introduces 4 New Members at Nippon Budokan!
As the sun begins to set on the tenure of Sayumi Michishige, “the most kawaii leader” of Morning Musume ’14, a new one is rising for the group’s newest members.
During the September 30th Nippon Budokan concert of the “Morning Musume ’14 Fall Concert Tour Give Me More Love ~ Sayumi Michishige Graduation Memorial Special ~” tour, four 12th generation members were introduced. Haruna Ogata (15) and Miki Nonaka (14) were the two candidates selected from the “Morning Musume ’14 Golden Audition” and Maria Makino (13) and Akane Haga (12), were promoted from Hello! Pro Kenshuusei.
Wearing all white one-piece dresses, the new members drew squeals of “kawaii” from the rest of Morning Musume as they took the stage.
Osaka native Haruna Ogata listed her special talent as figure skating (she had been taking lessons since she was 5-years old) and promptly went into a graceful figure skating pose on the stage to warm applause and shouts of amazement. Ogata is the first member from Osaka in the 17-year history of Morning Musume.
Miki Nonaka, who comes from Shizuoka, declared her specialty to be English conversation. She dazzled members and fans with her thoughts on becoming a member in American-accented English, “I am very happy to be on stage today. I am very excited to be in Morning Musume. I will do my best from now on. Thank you.” Michishige’s response was, “That was amazing but, all I understood was ‘Morning Musume’ and ‘Thank you’.
Akane Haga is the first member of the group to come from Nagano Prefecture and was described by Tsunku as someone that he had high hopes for as a representative of the region and the new generation. During her self-introduction, Haga mentioned that her favorite Morning Musume song was “Be Alive” (2012). Haga is also skilled at calligraphy and the crowd erupted when it was revealed that she had earned a 7th dan ranking, which is higher than Riho Sayashi’s 6th dan.
Maria Makino, who was a finalist in the 11th generation auditions, had been training as a Hello Pro Kenshuusei for the past two years. Tsunku’s comment recognized her growth as a performer and urged her to continue working diligently. Despite coming from Aichi prefecture, Makino said that her favorite baseball team was the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters during her self-introduction.
The 12th generation members will appear at concerts to greet the audience and will participate in handshake events. They will start performing at the beginning of 2015 as members of Morning Musume ’15.
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