Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Thinking About: Iikubo Haruna's Graduation Announcement

Way back when on August 17th, Iikubo Haruna announced that she would be graduating Morning Musume '18 and Hello! Project at the end of the groups Fall tour in December. With this decision, Haruna has cited that her reasons to graduate include the desire to pursue acting, radio, as well as focus on manga and fashion a little more.

With the groups 20th Anniversary being celebrated this year and last, Haruna began to think more about the future of the group, as well as her own future. Currently, Haruna acts as a sub-leader within the group beside Ikuta Erina, and is also the oldest member at 23. With her 24th birthday approaching, Haruna feels like it is time to step down from her position within the group and try new things in order to further her career within the entertainment industry whilst also challenging herself further.

Originally debuting in 2007 as a talent, Iikubo Haruna started out in acting and modelling for Love Berry before graduating in 2011 to pursue a career as a member of Morning Musume. Since then Haruna has performed live and in studio, acted on stage and for tV, participated in variety programs, MC'ed for live performances, released two solo photobooks, had a brief voice acting stint, appeared on radio as well as participated in commercials. Haruna has also been a member of the short-lived SATOYAMA sub-unit DIY♡, and is known for her fashion, speaking voice and complimentary nature. As of 2013, Iikubo Haruna is the longest serving sub-leader in Morning Musume's history at 5 years and 4 months (thus far).

It's been almost a month - almost - since the announcement was made, and so far I have made no move to comment on Haruna's decision to graduate. I did plan to talk about it as soon as I could, however after the announcement that three members of Houkago Princess would graduate from the group this October I knew that that specific post would take priority. The only other post that would top HouPri's graduation announcements would be Eripon's decision to graduate, and thank goodness we've not hit that time just yet.

Regarding Haruna's graduation though, I can't say I'm too surprised. I wasn't thrown for a loop like I was with Wada, and it's certainly not shocking in my mind, but that's probably because I'm at a point in my fandom with H!P where I just expect everyone to go at any point unless it's, say, Ogata Haruna or Duu. You know, the members you really don't expect to leave because of their age or shorter tenure. With Iikubo though, it makes a little to a lot more sense that she'd eventually go. I mean, she said it best herself: This year she turns 24, and she wants to challenge herself by going solo and pursuing other things within the entertainment industry.

I don't blame Harunan one bit for making this decision, and I am honestly delighted that she's decided to leave the group to better herself.

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

The End of An Era: Odagiri Nana, Yamguchi Miran and Kizuki Saori to Graduate Houkago Princess!

Way back when - August 20th, to be exact - Houkago Princess released an announcement that Odagiri Nana, Yamaguchi Miran and Kizuki Saori - arguably the three most popular members - would graduate the group in October, just shy of the upcoming single release. With this, a new leader will be appointed, and for the first time since the groups debut there will be a new face leading and representing Houkago Princess.

Odagiri Nana has been the groups leader since its inception way back in 2011. From 2010 she began her training with her fellow first generation members, initially made up of eight girls before dropping to seven just shy of their indies debut. Since then, she has watched other members come and go, seen the group through its highs and lows, grown a steady and dedicated fanbase and lead the group forward as its face, its lead singer and its main support. Eight years have gone by and it is undeniable that Odagiri is one piece of the groups main strength, not for her voice but for her leadership and popularity.

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Become a Princess After 4pm! Houkago Princess ~Regular Member Auditions~ Awaits You!

From now until August 31st, Houkago Princess will be accepting auditions via mail to join the group. A website has been specially created for these auditions, so if there is anyone interested in auditioning to become a potential member, please follow this link HERE for all of the information needed regarding the process.

In this post I will break down the information given on the website, including the requirements for the audition and what girls need to do as a part of this audition process. I apologise for any mistakes that may happen throughout the post.

To start, the website has been laid out to create an easy navigation between topics:

- An Introduction to Houkago Princess
- About the New Member Audition
- About the Audition application
- FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

And with this in place, I will go through each topic individually, and briefly. Let's begin.

Monday, 13 August 2018

A Royal Invitation: Houkago Princess Announce Regular Member Promotions, An Audition and A New Single Release!

Lineup, lineup, there is news a-plenty in the world of Houkago Princess, and it's time to reveal all from the world of sparkling tiara's and school uniforms! From an up-coming single to new member additions, let's unveil the latest from Houkago Princess, the idols who transform into royalty once once the clock strikes 16:00...

First up, member promotions!

Despite happening all the way back in June, I wanted to report that both Michishige Saho and Yukino Yuria from HouPri YOUTH had been promoted to the Regular lineup. With their coronation held on July 12th (Maika's birthday), the two members are now fully integrated into the group, and will be a part of the up-coming single release.

Sunday, 12 August 2018

The Finale of A Four Year Reign: Shirosaki Himari Graduates from Houkago Princess

Today on August 12th 2018, Shirosaki Himari graduated from Houkago Princess after a four year run. A 6th generation member, Himari joined HouPri as an Apprentice and then Candidate in June of 2014, before finally being promoted to the Regular lineup on June 21st, 2015.

Despite this being her final chapter however, Himari has lead a wonderful life as an idol. She has watched HouPri grow from a small indies group to something bigger, and though she has not held the limelight as much as other members, she has still had her time to shine and enjoyed every moment of it. There is no doubt in my mind that after this day, Himari will be remembered fondly by both her fans and the current, past and up-coming members.

Monday, 6 August 2018

The Story Ends Where It Began: Kojima Mayumi Graduates Houkago Princess on the TIF Dream Stage.

On August 5th 2018, Kojima Mayumi ended her very own fairy tale in the very place it began: Tokyo Idol Festival.

Three years ago she stood as a trainee member in HouPri YOUTH, but a year later at Tokyo Idol Festival 2016 Mayumi was promoted to the Regular Lineup. Now, two years later, it's this very event she delivers her final curtsey and last farewell as she writes her final chapter and closes the book. Today, she becomes alumni royalty.

And from today onwards I will miss her greatly.

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Personal Thoughts: Graduating Okay! Musume Time? (Not yet, but maybe)

I keep wondering when I last did a post, and looking back now, it was at the end of June. Thinking even further, I haven't continued my Haachin series despite saying I would, and actually I have a clear idea of where to go with them, but right now I don't have the time, and my interest has waned a little with this space. I don't know why, it just has.

Thinking back to my hiatus, I had times where I thought about completely leaving Okay! Musume Time and never looking back, and those feelings are only intensifying now despite how much I wanted to return. It was actually during my weekend at HYPER JAPAN that I wondered more about graduating Okay! Musume Time or going on another hiatus, because despite how much I love this blog and how much it has shaped me as a person and a writer, it's also holding me back a little (or so I believe), and I'm not as into the articles I want to write as I could be.

There is a lot I want to do on here, but I want to do similar content on Selective Hearing. I also want to showcase a better, more professional side to myself, but I don't think I could ever get Okay! Musume Time to that standard, but also I want to keep this personal, bubbly side to myself on here. I've also acknowledged that I want to write more for Selective Hearing and to better my article count there. It's quite low in my mind, and during my hiatus I did well with writing, but since trying to get back into writing on O!MT I have fallen back into the habit of writing nothing for either site. It's aggravating, worrying, and it only stresses me out more.

Of course there are a lot of good things about Okay! Musume Time that make me want to write here for a long time. Firstly, it will be 8 years old come November. Second, I finally hit the 1000 post count during a Haachin-based post. Third, I have been able to talk to so many people through this and made friends thanks to blogging. I've grown and learnt so many things since starting up my blog and I can't be happier that it brought me so many things. It's thanks to Okay! Musume Time that I am where I am today in my love for idols and writing, but I know that there will be a time when I need to stop and do something a little different, or the same thing on another platform.

I will give myself until Okay! Musume Time's 8th Anniversary to decide whether or not I graduate this space. By then I should know where I want to be and what I want to do.

Apologies for the sudden post everyone, but I wanted my feelings about this situation out in the open. Thank you for reading, and please take care.