Thursday, 24 December 2015

Sayashi Riho - The Graduation Appreciation Post

This post is one that contains my honest thoughts and feelings. If you feel offended by what you read, then you do have the choice to leave. I don't expect anyone to like what I write, and likewise, I do not expect you to think you can threaten me into your way of thinking. Thanks.

Though I missed out on Fukuda Kanon's Appreciation post for her Graduation, I am more than intent on not missing Sayashi Riho's, mostly because she is a part of a group that I have liked for a long time, now, even when that like for them has waned. In a way, I want to appreciate her, too, despite already knowing full well I already appreciate H!P's vocally inept ace, except it's in a way most can't see, read or here as much as I would appreciate, say, Ikuta Erina or Suzuki Kanon, y'know?

So yes, we are going into an Idol Appreciation post, and though I am sad I never was able to do a special [Week with...] series for the girl due to a busy schedule, plus the fact her graduation lands on the week I do my End of Year posts, I feel that at most, I can at least write a post where I appreciate and talk about her as best I can.

So, without further ado, let's get into this post and deliver our send-offs to Sayashi Riho, the Ace of Morning Musume '15, a face of H!P who will leave the world of many far too early, way too soon...

So, where to begin with one Sayashi Riho? I mean, it's difficult to try and think about what to say during these types of posts, especially when it concerns my least favoured members of a group, and when it comes down to Riho, there is no denying that, ever since the release of Only You, she has certainly not been a favourite. Does this mean that I hate her? Of course not, why would it? Yeah, I've bitched and whined about her a time or two (or three or four...), but it's what I do, and that shouldn't mean I appreciate her any less. That, and I also prefer other members over Riho.
 She's not a particular favourite, but I still like and respect her, just not as much as I do other members. That is just how it goes, ya know?

But, honestly speaking, I do like Riho, she's just not the member I would peg as Top 3 or even Top 7 candidate. Sure, she's quirky and cute, she can dance up a storm, but aside from that...? Nothing. That is how it was meant to be, and it's how it is now. I am not changing my opinion of her, even though she's going to be leaving the MoMusu nest soon.

Okay, so before people find this post to be one of the negative variety, let me clarify something; I have always found Riho to be talented, at least as a dancer, and later on in her tenure as a member of H!P's longest standing shipwreck, I have found her to be a really humorous, amazingly weird person that has her own personal charm, especially when it comes to being a pervert for Fukumura's skin. Yeah, she's funny, and that surprised me quite a bit when I found that out, because Riho was as boring as dirt when she first started. Aside from her insane dancing skills, she was not really a big personality within the group at first, at least to me she wasn't.
 That said, at least she kept some interest, unlike the current leader, Mizuki Fukumura.

So she definitely grew I think, and that was pleasant to see as an observer of Morning Musume. Sure, she never grew as a singer, but she certainly gained growth in charisma and style, and that is pretty important for a center, I believe. Speaking of which, Riho, bless her vocally impaired heart, did really well to take on so much in the few years she has been a part of Morning Musume. She's been an Ace, she has literally carried the group on her shoulders when it was both dying from 2011 until 2013, to when it began to prosper from 2014 onward. She was its leads singer, main dancer, the face and, basically, the groups backbone, all from the age of 13 years old. She has tolerated not only keeping the group afloat with her popularity and skills, but has also managed to tolerate a lot of fan backlash, my own included.

She has done really well to keep going, even if it has had a mental toll on her after so many years, and it's undeniable that, even now, Riho is still carrying the weight of Morning Musume on her shoulders, despite the fact she is graduating very soon. She hasn't really had a break since her beginnings, and UFP nor H!P haven't given her a chance to recoup, either, constantly having her as center, rarely sharing out her lines in either singles or concerts until later on, and only giving her a real 'break' of sorts with Oh My Wish by having her as a dance center as opposed to a vocal one.
 It's undeniable that, with Riho's sudden departure on their hands, UFP may have a hard time trying to figure out where to go from here, because whilst both Masaki and Fukumura, possibly even Duu, are perfect candidates for future centers, H!P have relied too heavily on Riho as the Ace, and have not thought of who may be the next Ace for their flagship group. It's their own fault, really, and they're paying for it right now, and honestly? It makes me happy that Riho's pulled the plug on them this early on, and let them fall into deep shit.

Honestly, I do think that Riho graduating now, though it is early and was a surprise, is a good decision on her part. It's obvious that, as of late, she has been tired and that she is in need of a break. After handling so much, after spending 4 years being the groups leading lady, its backbone, the front-runner and more, she deserves to have some time to herself, because more than anything, she needs it.

Though UFP may like to think this, Riho was not, and is not, Ai, nor is she Reina. When Riho came in, Morning Musume was in need of new blood and a new ace, and that happened to be Riho. When both Ai and Reina came in, there were multiple front girls whom H!P could rely on to keep the group afloat, but in 2011, they only had Reina and Ai, and they were desperate. From then on, Riho had a lot thrust upon her, and H!P relied solely on her and no one else to hold the group together. Ai and Reina, however, had a substantial amount of time to become Aces and leads. With plenty other members already there to lead and aid them, both girls were able to grow and mature enough without it affecting them. For Riho, even with Ai and Reina there, she was forced to mature a lot more quickly, only to have that cause a little more damage than anyone expected, I think.

And now she's helping herself by getting the heck out of there, allowing herself that much needed break. If you ask me, this is one of the wisest, most mature decisions an Idol can make, and I highly respect Riho for doing this. She is not weak for admitting she needs to leave, she is not being selfish for wanting to leave the group all of a sudden. She is strong, she is sure, and she is so mature for deciding that, right now, she has to go and choose a new path, one where she is no longer the back bone, face, spirit or life of Morning Musume. For this, I salute her, and I think even more highly of her than I have ever have before.

I do believe, though many will disagree here, that this time is a better time than any for Riho to go. She's 17 years of age, the world is at her feet, and with all of the experience she has gained by being a part of Morning Musume, her future is a good one if she chooses to use it. By leaving now, Riho has a better chance at getting into the industry she wants to when she is a fully-fledged adult, whether it be entertainment, business or art based.
 Her future is hers to decide now, and honestly, after four years of being a part of Morning Musume and Hello! Project, Riho has had a great run, better than some others who leave the business around the same time she has. She has been the Ace, the center, and for many, the savior.

Vocally, I will not miss Riho (though her Peaberry stint is one of her best, I believe), however I will miss that cheeky charm she brings to PV's, as well as her stellar stage presence. She is a girl that, whilst not my oshi, is someone I can respect and enjoy, and a girl I can now appreciate wholeheartedly. And, with her impending graduation, there is certainly a part of me that is happy she is leaving, because now other girls will have time to shine, but I am also happy because it is a decision Riho made for herself in order to take a rest and allow her health to stay stable, as opposed to letting her career pull her down and hurt her any further.

Sayashi Riho is not my favourite. She is terrible vocally, and she has been pushed to the front far too much for some, however what she is is this; an amazing dancer, a girl with charm and charisma, and someone who has brought light to the lives of many. She is strong and persistent, and she is one of the many reasons as to why Morning Musume is what it is today. I would not go as far to say that she, Sayashi Riho, is Morning Musume, but she is definitely one of the girls who has allowed them to climb to the top, and for these past four years, she has lead them to the front once again.

I am glad that she has been a part of Morning Musume, however now, I look forward to the future that she will carve for herself as simply Sayashi Riho, not Sayashi Riho of Morning Musume '15.

Her graduation is nearing, and soon she will no longer be a part of the world many love. For this Idol and her impending departure from the Idol world, think about what you appreciate about her, and let it be known.

Sayashi Riho, Morning Musume '15's Ace, a girl who managed to carry a group on her shoulders, all from the young age of 13. In many ways, she is amazing, and by many she is loved. There is no denying that this girl has made an impact, even if it wasn't necessarily on everyone around her.


Until next time.


  1. It's so difficult to accurately talk about Sayashi Riho because of the deficiencies you have mentioned. She's not a great singer (although I think more of her singing than you do), and I cringed every time someone wanted to make her the new Takahashi Ai. Despite not being a vocal power, Riho did put the group on her shoulders and bring Morning Musume to new heights. I think she fulfilled the promises we foisted upon her. Further, she is leaving at a time when the new generation needs the spotlight. You're right; the genius of Riho's graduation is that she knew the right time to leave even before I realized it.

    1. Yeah, it was difficult to talk about her, honestly. I actually never mentioned it (when I should have), but when Riho sounds good, she nails it every time (The Cold Wind song, for instance, and BE ALIVE, too). But yes, she knew it was time to go, and honestly, now is great, because MM once again has a pool of talent who can continue the legacy Riho helped to create. She's left MM in good hands.

  2. Sayashi is a hard girl to write a graduation post about given - as you point out - she's not the world's greatest singer and definitely not the next Takahashi Ai - but she's a part of where MM is where it is today.

    I very much agree with you. I feel like she always shines the brightest when she's dancing, not singing. Her stage presence and charisma is no joke, she brings everything to the table.

    I think you highlighted a good point when you said Reina and Ai had good aces and centres leading them whilst Riho went through that process much quickly (the same can be said for her generation mates too). And I agree too, its UFP's loss that they may need some time to fill in those big shoes they gave to Riho at such a young age. It's like a snowball that just keeps getting bigger - UFP relied on the two best singers in singles during the Platinum Era that eventually filled up a lot of the discography 9kis - but particularly thrown onto Riho - to expect to perform with perfection. Towards Riho's latter years, I've got the feeling MM's songs in general are always too high for her. Yet if you give Riho a song that's of a lower register such as Cold Wind - she nails it and sounds perfect.

    I admire and respect her a lot for that - she had a lot of expectations, from UFP and fans, to hold on her little shoulders at 13. I'm glad she's saying it's time for her to go and pursue what she really loves - dance (because honestly, her voice has had me very worried as of late).

    Definitely a well deserved break for such a young ace. I wish her all the best in her ventures into dance! :)

    1. Thank you very much for reading! I am glad you have commented, too! ^o^ And yes, it was quite difficult to write about Riho, however I somehow managed! (Though there could have been more to say).

      Honestly, I do think that, with time, Riho could have shined brighter than she did. Not to say that she's not shining brightly anyway, because she is, however if they had trained her a lot more as opposed to throwing a big weight on her shoulders from the get go, I have a feeling she would have lasted a lot longer in MM, as well as found her true voice and a style that suited her well. She would have grown a lot more, and found balance like Ai and Reina did. Riho didn't have a Reina or an Ai to lean on like those two had each other; Riho had... Riho. If they had given her someone to take the burden of MM's entirety, like Sakura sooner rather than later, then this might have been easier on her.

      Honestly, Riho in Cold Wind was great. I swear, she sounds best in her final single. Then again, Tsunku has made a point of saying that the girls always shine brightest and bring their best just before they graduate, and he was completely right.

      I do respect Riho so much. She will never be my favourite, but I will never say I don't respect her. I do. She was a good kid, and she did her best, but she was also mature enough to know when she needed to quit. I'm glad she's doing it to help herself.


      Thank you again for your comment! <3 It was so lovely to read!!!