Niigaki Risa’s Profile


In 2001, Risa was selected to ;join Morning Musume ;as ;one of the 5th generation members from Love Audition 21 auditions on August 26, 2001, along ; side Takahashi ;Ai, Konno ;Asami, and Ogawa Makoto. She made her debut on ;Morning Musume’s ;13th ;single “Mr. Moonlight ~Ai no Big Band~,” and first appeared on the fourth studio album, 4th Ikimasshoi!.

Before she ;joined Morning Musume, Niigaki ;was a finalist out of 1,000 entrants in the “Kiss Girl Audition” to become the new Tomy ;image girl, held by TV Tokyo’s “Oha ;Star” program. She appeared in a commercial with the other finalist, Hasegawa ;Ai, for Tomy ;Karaoke Machine Kiss-site, but ultimately lost out the Grand Prix prize to Hasegawa ;(ironically, Niigaki ;later starred in a commercial for the same company as a part of Morning Musume). Additionally, she did some work as a magazine model since spring 2000.

In the summer of that year, she also debuted in a shuffle unit, as part of Happy 7, coincidentally with two other 5th generation ;members, Takahashi ;and Ogawa. Later in September, all fifth generation members were placed into subgroups. Along with Asami ;Konno, Niigaki ;was placed into Tanpopo as a member of the third generation, however the ;new grouping only managed to release one single before becoming inactive.

In 2002, ;Niigaki ;participated in a drama alongside her fellow Morning Musume ;members titled “Angel Hearts”. She also participated in another drama, “Ore ga Aitsu ;de Aitsu ;ga Ore de”. She also recieved ;a part in the movie “Tokkaekko”, which was released on July 17th, alongside other Morning Musume members.

While continuing her career in Morning Musume ;into 2003, she also participated in the 2002 Happiness Groups as a member of Happy 7, as well as releasing a koint ;photobook with the other 5th generation members.

In a surprise move by Tsunku, Morning Musume ;was split into two halfs ;- Morning Musume ;Otome ;Gumi ;and Morning Musume ;Sakura ;Gumi ;in 2003. This was done so that the large group could perform in smaller towns that could not hold the larger numbers the full ensemble needed. Niigaki ;was placed into Sakura ;Gumi ;and released two single with the group before the groups merged together and formed Morning Musume ;once more. Niigaki ;was included in the 2003 Elemental Shuffle Groups as a member of 7AIR.

Niigaki ;recieved ;a part in another movie, “Koinu ;Dan no Monogatari”, which was ;released on June 23, 2003.

In 2004, Niigaki, along with all of Hello! Project at the time, created one large shuffle unit called H.P. All Stars. ;The large group ;released one single, “All For One & One ;For All”, which is now considered as one of H!P’s theme songs. ; ;She also released her first solo photobook.

Risa joined the Hello! Project concert unit Hello! Project Akagumi ;as a member of Morning Musume ;in 2005, and ;also participated in two radio shows, those being TBC ;Fun Fīrudo ;Mōretsu ;Mōdasshu ;and Hello Pro Yanen!!.

In 2006, ;Niigaki ;joined the Hello! Project concert unit Wonderful Hearts as a member of Morning Musume. ;She also ;released her second solo photobook, “Ama Natsu”, on June 25.

Niigaki ;was chosen to be a member of Morning Musume ;Tanjō ;10-nen ;Kinentai ;(モーニング娘。誕生10年記念隊) along with ;Iida ;Kaori, Abe Natsumi, Goto Maki and Kusumi ;Koharu ;in early 2007. The ;unit was ;created to celebrate Morning Musume’s ;10th anniversary. On January 24th 2007, their first single, “Bokura ;ga Ikiru ;My Asia”, was released. ;Takahashi ;Ai become the new leader of Morning Musume, ;replacing then-leader Fujimoto ;Miki who resigned from the group on June 1, 2007, while Niigaki ;took Takahashi’s place as sub-leader.

Niigaki ;took over the role of Athena in the anime series Robby & Kerobby ;following Tsuji ;Nozomi’s ;pregnancy announcement. Niigaki ;was then ;placed in the unit Athena & Robikerottsu ;along with fellow Morning Musume ;member Mitsui ;Aika, as well as Nakajima ;Saki and Okai ;Chisato of °C-ute in October 2007 to sing songs for the anime.

It was announced in July 2008, that Niigaki ;and fellow Morning Musume ;member Takahashi ;Ai would play the 80s J-pop duo ‘Pink Lady’ in the TV Drama “Hitmaker ;Aku ;Yū ;Monogatari”. From August 6, 2008 through August 25, Morning Musume, along with members of the Takarazuka ;Revue, performed a version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella with Niigaki playing ;as the Prince.

On August 26, 2008, Niigaki ;became one of four members to remain in Morning Musume ;for seven years or more (the others being Iida ;Kaori, Yoshizawa ;Hitomi ;and fellow fifth generation member Takahashi Ai).

On January 17, 2009, Niigaki ;and Takahashi ;became the longest serving ;members in Morning Musume ;history, breaking the four year ;old record set by Iida ;Kaori.

It was announced by the Official Anime Expo website that Japanese pop group Morning Musume ;will be attending the annual Anime convention, the Anime Expo in Los Angeles, California in July 2009, as Guests of Honor at the event. At the convention, Morning Musume held autograph sessions and a concert. The amount of fans who came to the concert reached numbers over 7,000 people.

Later that year, Hello! Project members were placed into revival groups. Niigaki ;was placed into ZYX-α, ;along with fellow Morning Musume ;member Kusumi ;Koharu, Sudou ;Maasa, ;Tsugunaga ;Momoko ;and Tokunaga ;Chinami ;from Berryz ;Kobo, Umeda ;Erika from C-ute, and ;Ogawa Saki and Wada ;Ayaka from S/mileage.

On the 10th of February 2010, Morning Musume ;will released their 42nd single “Onna ;ga Medatte ;Naze ;Ikenai”, which was Niigaki’s ;30th single with Morning Musume.

It was announced that Niigaki ;would be starring in a movie called Gekijoubon ;Hontou ;ni Atta Kowai ;Hanashi ;3D as one of the main characters. The movie starred Niigaki ;along with Nakajima ;Saki of C-ute and Hello!Project Egg members Sayuki ;Takagi ;and Ayano ;Satou.

In January 2011, it was announced that Takahashi ;Ai would be graduating from Morning Musume ;during the 2011 Autumn tour. Niigaki ;replaced Takahashi ;as leader of Morning Musume, and this time, there is no sub-leader. She has the record of being the longest-serving member of the group.

Niigaki was in a stage play with many other H!P artists titled Reborn ~Inochi no Audition~ where she played Joan of Arc. The play ran from October 8th to the 17th 2012. The DVD was released March 14th 2012. She also started in the stage play “Sanada Juuyuushi ~Bokura ga Mamori takatta mono~” as the character Yukino. The play went from December 2nd to the 11th 2011. Nico Nico streamed the last show live for fans around the world to watch. The DVD was released March 28th 2012.

Niigaki replaced Morning Musume’s FIVE STARS radio show with her own solo one, titled Risa’s Nighthouse. The show airs Tuesdays at 24:30 ~ 25:00, where Niigaki has a new H!P member come in each week as a special guest.

On Janurary 3rd 2012, Niigaki announced her graduation from Morning Musume and Hello! Project at the Hello! Project 2012 Winter tours. She had originally planned to graduate alongside Takahashi Ai but felt that with the new members being added that the timing wasnt right and that she’d wait a little longer. Her graduation is set for May 18th, the last concert date of the Morning Musume Spring 2012 Concert Tour ~Ultra Smart~. After graduation, like Takahashi, she plans to focus on acting.

The group’s 49th single, titled Renai Hunter, is set for April and will have many Gaki solos, with the chorse showcasing her vocal power. Niigaki is also set to have a solo song, although it is currently unclear if she will have an orignial like Takahashi did or if she will be covering another Morning Musume song of her choice.

Through April 21st – 22nd Niigaki will have a solo bus tour, her last as a member of Morning Musume.

Niigaki Risa’s last PB as a Morning Musume member, titled Ascension, was released April 27th 2012. Her last DVD as a member of the group, titled as it is, is set to be released May 16th.

After her graduation from the group, Niigaki is set to star in two stage plays. The first, titled Minori, has a sort of typical love story as stated in the description of the play. The second, titled Tumbling Vol.3, has Niigaki playing a more serious, strict role and character, as sugessted by pictures released from the shooting for the stage play. In both plays, Niigaki is the staring role.

On May 18th Niigaki Risa graduated from Morning Musume and Hello! Project.

On May 27th, Niigaki had her first public appearance at a Tokyo bookstore for her photobook Ascension to promote it.

Later in May, it was announced that Niigaki would star in a new movie titled ‘Tobidase Shinsengumi!’. The movie is based on a novel by Kuwahara Jotaro, who has also written ‘Boku no Onna ni Te wo Dasu na‘ and ‘Shinjuku Junai Monogatari’. The story revolves around an all-female theater troupe who rehearses for “Musical Shinsengumi Makoto”, when suddenly, the real members of the Shinsengumi appear from the late-Edo period.


Name: ;Niigaki Risa
Nicknames: ;Gaki-san, Mame-chan, Omame, MC GAKI (as a radio DJ), Niinii
Birthdate: October 20, 1988 (age 23)
Bloodtype: B
Height: 154.5cm
Hometown: ;Kanagawa, Japan
Special skills: Hangul, finishing a task, can text without looking at the keys, proclaimed Disney master, tidying up.
Hobby: Going to Disneyland.
Favorite food: ;Eihire ;(Dried stingray fins), Mickey waffles, grilled eel and parfaits.
Disliked food: Fried meat.
Favorite saying: “Be considerate every day and try the hardest you can! Hehe“.
Favorite colors: Yellow-green and white.
Favorite flowers: Sunflowers.
Favorite season: Winter.
Hello! Project Groups:


  • Morning Musume (2001-present)
  • ZYX-α (2009-present)
  • Hello! Project Mobekimasu (2011-)

Past Units:

  • Happy 7 (2002)
  • Tanpopo (2002-2003)
  • 7Air (2003)
  • Morning Musume ;Sakura ;Gumi (September 2003 to March 2004)
  • H.P. All Stars (2004)
  • Morning Musume ;Tanjou ;10nen ;Kinentai (2006-12-11 to September 2007)
  • Athena & Robikerottsu (2007-09-05 to February 2008)


  • Pocky Girls (2002)
  • Metro Rabbits H.P. (2006)
  • Muten Musume (2010)
  • UstreaMusume (2011-)
  • Reborn Eleven (2011)


  • Love Audition 21 audition songs:
    • Round 1: “Otome ;Pasta ni Kandou” (Tanpopo)
    • Round 2: “Chu! Natsu ;Party” (3nin Matsuri)
  • Although born in Kagoshima, Niigaki ;moved at age 6 to Yokohama in Kanagawa Prefecture. Her grandparents are from Okinawa.
  • Morning Musume ;producer Tsunku said he chose Niigaki because she “shined during the final studio recording”.
  • Niigaki’s ;original nickname, “Omame,” was given to her by Yaguchi ;Mari shortly after Niigaki ;joined Morning Musume; mame ;means “bean,” and it supposedly referred to Niigaki’s ;small body and face. She was later given the nickname “Gaki-san” by Okamura Takashi during the Mechaike ;Bakajo ;Kimatsu Test; gaki ;means “kid” or “brat,” making the nickname a pun on the fact that she was the youngest member of Morning Musume ;at the time. In the years since then, “Gaki-san” (usually pronounced “Gakksan”) has become her most frequently used nickname among both the fans and the other members of the group, although some graduated members still call her “Mame-chan.”
  • Only Goto Maki calls her “Nii ;Nii”.
  • Has stated that she has excellent vision and that she can clearly see the faces of the audience in the very back row of a performance hall, as well as on the second and third floors.
  • Her trademark “Mayuge ;Beam” (“Eyebrow Beam”) move is derived from the “Sexy Beam” move from “Koi no Dance Site”. Niigaki has said that her favorite part of her face are her eyebrows.
  • Calls her grandmother “Baba-chan.”
  • Was a big fan of Morning Musume before joining the group, and even collected bromides and telephone cards.
  • Named Abe Natsumi ;as the member she admired the most. Stated in Music Fighter that when she was young asked her mother to cut her hair like Abe’s which made her looked like Gegege ;no Kitaro instead, leaving her traumatized.
  • Is close friends with Takahashi ;Ai and Kamei Eri.
  • She and Takahashi ;Ai currently have the longest tenures of any Morning Musume members.
  • She said in a 2004 interview that her rivals were fellow 5th generation members Takahashi ;Ai, Konno ;Asami, and Ogawa Makoto.
  • To date, she is the youngest member of Morning Musume to become sub-leader, at only 18.
  • She is allergic to pollen.
  • Her shoe size is 37.
  • Has said that the song that gets her fired up at concerts is “HOW DO YOU LIKE JAPAN? ~Nihon wa Donna Kanji Dekka?~” and the song that fits her perfectly is “Shanimuni Paradise”.
  • These are her opinions of the characters of the other Morning Musume members (at the time):
    • Takahashi ;Ai: Sabaa! (Refreshing!)
    • Kamei ;Eri: PPP!! (Poke Poke Puu~)
    • Michishige ;Sayumi: Surprisingly quick!!!
    • Tanaka Reina: Hyper Hyper Girl.
    • Kusumi ;Koharu: Does things at her own pace.
    • Mitsui ;Aika: Intelligent.
    • Junjun: Crybaby.
    • Linlin: Interesting.
  • These are the other members’ opinions on Niigaki’s character:
    • Takahashi Ai: Reliable person.
    • Kamei Eri: Sparkling!!
    • Michishige ;Sayumi: Nice!!
    • Tanaka Reina: Reliable.
    • Kusumi ;Koharu: Reliable.
    • Mitsui ;Aika: Reliable.
    • Junjun: Hardworking.
    • Linlin: Green princess.
  • Niigaki’s ;best friend within Hello! Project is her fellow Morning Musume ;member, Takahashi Ai.
  • In a Jpop Wave interview, she said that her favorite Korean artists are BoA, Se7en and TVXQ.

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