On September 29th, the 10th generation members of idol group Morning Musume were revealed during the concert, “Concert Tour 2011 Aki Ai BELIEVE~Takahashi Ai Sotugyou Kinen Special~“, which was held at the Nippon Budokan. These four members were chosen from an astounding 6,000 applicants.
Fans at the concert were introduced to 10th generation members Iikubo Haruna (16), Ishida Ayumi (14), Sato Masaki (12), and Kudo Haruka (11).
To encourage the new girls, leader Takahashi Ai (25) — who will be graduating from the group on the 30th — gave a loud shout, saying, “I hope to see them develop more and more.” Niigaki Risa (22) who will become the group’s new leader after Takahashi, expressed her determination with, “I would like to do my best with renewed intentions.”
Producer Tsunku♂ then explained his decision-making process during the auditions. “I was planning to make about two girls pass the audition at the beginning, but it ended up being four girls because of their high levels.” He continued, “Now that the new Morning Musume has become a 13-member group, it will make the group quite fresh; however, they also have a long history. There is no other girl group like them in the world.”
To commemorate Takahashi’s graduation, former Morning Musume members Ogawa Makoto (currently a part of Dream Morning Musume) and Konno Asami (now a TV Tokyo announcer) reunited with their fellow 5th generation members (Takahashi and Niigaki) on stage. Takahashi expressed through tears, “Our bond will not disappear even after graduation, so let’s continue to step forward, each onto our own paths,” and the girls hugged each other.