Berryz Kobo

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Berryz Kobo
Berryz Kobo at AnimeNEXT 20120609 15.39.17.jpg
Berryz Kobo in 2012. From left to right:
Saki Shimizu, Momoko Tsugunaga, Chinami Tokunaga, Maasa Sudo, Miyabi Natsuyaki, Yurina Kumai, and Risako Sugaya.
Background information
Native name Berryz工房
Also known as Berryz Kōbō
Berryz Koubou
Origin Japan
Genres Pop, teen pop, bubblegum pop
Years active 2004 (2004)–2015(hiatus)
Labels Piccolo Town
Associated acts Cute
Buono!
Hello! Project Kids
Aa!
ZYX
Hello! Project Mobekimasu
Morning Musume
Erina Mano
S/mileage
Juice=Juice
Website Berryz Kobo on YouTube
Members Saki Shimizu
Momoko Tsugunaga
Chinami Tokunaga
Maasa Sudo
Miyabi Natsuyaki
Yurina Kumai
Risako Sugaya
Past members Maiha Ishimura (2004–2005)

Berryz Kobo (Berryz工房?, literally "Berryz Workshop"[1]), also romanized as Berryz Koubou or Berryz Kōbō, is a Japanese girl group, currently consisting of seven members.[2]

The pop group is part of Hello! Project, produced by Tsunku, who also writes its songs. Of all the musical acts in Hello! Project, Berryz hold the title of the most consistent line-up, having kept all of their original members (with no new members added) since their one and only graduation (Maiha Ishimura) in 2005.

The group was formed in 2004 and debuted with its first single in March of the same year.[2] In 2007, Berryz Kobo set the record for being the youngest act ever to give a solo concert at Saitama Super Arena.[2] In 2008, the group received the Best Asian Newcomer Award at the Asia Song Festival and a Cable Music Award at the 41st Japan Cable Awards ceremony.[2]

As of June 2014, the group has released 35 singles, 9 studio albums, 1 EP and 1 compilation album. Berryz Kobo's combined CD and DVD sales exceed 1 million copies in Japan alone.

Members[edit]

Current members[edit]

Name Birth date Age Member colour* Notes
Saki Shimizu (1991-11-22)November 22, 1991 22 Yellow Captain
Momoko Tsugunaga (1992-03-06)March 6, 1992 22 Pink Also a member of Buono!
Chinami Tokunaga (1992-05-22)May 22, 1992 22 Orange
Maasa Sudo (1992-07-03)July 3, 1992 22 Blue
Miyabi Natsuyaki (1992-08-25)August 25, 1992 22 Purple Sub-captain, also a member of Buono!
Yurina Kumai (1993-08-03)August 3, 1993 21 Green
Risako Sugaya (1994-04-04)April 4, 1994 20 Red

Former members[edit]

History[edit]

2002–2003: Hello! Project Kids[edit]

All the group's members were initially selected during the audition for Hello! Project Kids in 2002.

Since then, the girls undertook serious professional training in Hello! Project.

In 2002, Maasa Sudo and Risako Sugaya, as members of the group 4Kids, played in the Minimoni movie Okashi na Daibōken!.

In 2003, some Hello! Project Kids were placed in bands led by Morning Musume members: Miyabi Natsuyaki was selected to be in Aa!, while Saki Shimizu and Momoko Tsugunaga were in the group called ZYX. Both units were proved to be short-lived, and their activity virtually came to a stall with the creation of Berryz Kobo.

2004: Formation and debut[edit]

The formation of Berryz Kobo was announced at a Hello! Project club event on January 14, 2004. The band was formed of 8 members of Hello! Project Kids, who were the so-called starting line-up, cause, initially, it was planned to rotate all 15 members of Hello! Project Kids through the new group, which would have given Berryz Kobo's members more time for school.[3] Later, however, the idea was dismissed, and the remaining 7 Hello! Project Kids members formed the group Cute in 2005.

On March 3, 2004, the new band debuted with the single "Anata Nashi de wa Ikite Yukenai",[2][4] ranking 18th in the Oricon Weekly Singles Chart.[5]

Two more hit singles followed in April and May, and on July 7 the group already released its first album, titled 1st Chō Berryz.

In addition to their activity as Berryz Kobo, the girls also performed as backup dancers in music videos of the newly created Hello! Project duo W.[6]

2005: First top 10 hit and Maiha's graduation[edit]

The single "Special Generation" was released on March 30, 2005, and ranked 7th in the Oricon Weekly Singles Chart.[4][7][8] It was Berryz' first single to rank in the top 10, and their first to sell more than 20,000 copies.[7][8] At that time, the group's average age was below 12 years.

On September 11, 2005, it was announced that Maiha Ishimura would graduate from Berryz Kobo and the whole Hello! Project to focus on her studies.[9] Maiha's graduation took place on October 2, 2005, on the last night of the Berryz Kobo autumn 2005 concert tour. She was only the second non-Morning Musume member to be given her own graduation concert, the first being Michiyo Heike.

2006: Jiriri Kiteru[edit]

The 10th single, "Jiriri Kiteru", released on March 29, ranked 6th in the Oricon Weekly Singles Chart,[4] setting a new high for the group.

2007: Youngest concert at Saitama Super Arena[edit]

In February 2007, Berryz Kobo made news headlines after it was announced that the group would be holding a concert at Saitama Super Arena on April 1. Not only were the tickets for the two performances (a total of 20,000 seats) sold out almost two months before the premiere, Berryz Kobo also became the youngest act ever to give a solo concert at the arena.[2][4] Its members' average age was 13.8,[4][10] beating the previous record of 16.3, set by Morning Musume four years earlier.[11]

On June 27, Berryz released their 14th single "Kokuhaku no Funsui Hiroba". It ranked 4th in the Oricon Weekly Singles Chart,[4] yet another personal high for them.

2008: Awards and NHK Kōhaku Uta Gassen[edit]

On March 12, 2008 the group released "Dschinghis Khan", its first cover song and, as of 2012, still its highest selling single.[12]

In October, Berryz Kobo participated at the Asia Song Festival 2008 in South Korea, representing Japan along with W-inds and Anna Tsuchiya. Berryz won the festival's Best Asian Newcomer Award[2][4] along with the SM Entertainment group Shinee.[13]

On December 12, they performed at Sharam Q's 20th anniversary concert at the Nippon Budokan.

On December 17, the group took part in the 41st Japan Cable Awards (日本有線大賞 Nihon Yūsen Taishō?) show at Nakano Sun Plaza, performing "Dschinghis Khan", for which they received a Cable Music Award (有線音楽賞 Yūsen Ongaku Shō?), awarded to the most requested songs on the Cansystem cable radio network.[14] The Grand Prix went to Exile for the song "Ti Amo", though.

The year ended with the group's debut at the 58th NHK Kōhaku Uta Gassen,[4] an annual music show broadcast on December 31. They performed a number together with Morning Musume and Cute.[15][16]

2009: Influenza and collaboration with Inazuma Eleven[edit]

In March, Berryz Kobo First Fan Club Tour in Hawaii '09 was held in Honolulu, Hawaii, where the band performed exclusively for the members of the Japanese fan club. It was the first overseas fan club tour for the group.[17]

The Sunday, March 22, concert in Nagoya was cancelled just a couple of days before the date, due to two group members, Miyabi Natsuyaki and Risako Sugaya, being down with influenza.[18][19]

On April 25, in Utsunomiya, Tochigi, which was part of their spring concert tour, Sono Subete no Ai ni, the girls celebrated the group's 100th solo concert.

On June 3, the group released its 20th single and its first double A-side single, "Seishun Bus Guide/Rival". The song "Seishun Bus Guide" was a closing theme for the anime series Inazuma Eleven.[20]

On June 21, Berryz had a mini-concert in Korea,[21] which became their first commercial solo concert outside of Japan.

In autumn 2009, Berryz got into the news all going down with flu. It all started on Tuesday, October 13, when Momoko Tsugunaga felt sick. On Wednesday, fans were notified that she was diagnozed with the influenza and would be absent from the concert scheduled for Saturday.[22][23] The very next day, first, Miyabi Natsuyaki was reported to be diagnozed with the flu after having felt sick the previous evening,[24][25] and then it was announced that the Sunday concert had to be cancelled due to Maasa Sudo and Risako Sugaya also having influenza.[26][27] The next day, Hello! Project informed that Saki Shimizu joined her friends, making it 5 members out of 7.[28] But the story did not end there, because in the beginning of November, the flu got to Chinami Tokunaga,[29][30] followed by Yurina Kumai a couple of days later;[31][32] they had to miss November 7 and 8 concerts.[32]

2010: More Inazuma Eleven endings[edit]

In spring, Berryz performed in Bangkok, Thailand, for the first time.[33]

On March 3, Berryz released their third double A-side single, "Otakebi Boy Wao!/Tomodachi wa Tomodachi Nanda!".[4][34] The single debuted in the Oricon Weekly Singles Chart at number 3, making it their highest-ranking single to date. It also stayed in the top 10 for a second week, ranking 9th.

In July they released a new single, "Maji Bomber!!", which was used as an ending theme for both the anime Inazuma Eleven and the game that the anime was based upon. Their next single and their last Inazuma Eleven ending theme, "Shining Power", was released on November 10.

2011: Oricon Daily number 1 and first concert in America[edit]

On March 3, the group started its seventh anniversary tour. March 3 is the day when, seven years previously, Berryz Kobo debuted[35] with their first single, so they call this day Berryz Kobo no Hi ("Berryz Kobo's Day").

Berryz Kobo's 25th single "Heroine ni Narō ka" ("Let's be Heroines") reached number 1 in the Oricon Daily Singles Chart for March 6.

The concert that was scheduled for March 12 in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, was abruptly cancelled because of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami which hit the day before the planned concert. All of the group's members were safe, but the tour had to be stopped. The concerts were either canceled or postponed until the end of March.

In the end of March, Berryz Kobo released their 7th album, 7 Berryz Times.[35][36]

In April, Berryz Kobo successfully performed to their American fans at Sakura-Con 2011, an anime convention in Seattle, Washington, USA. This was the first performance by Berryz Kobo in the United States of America.[37] The group participated in events such as autograph sessions,[38] questions and answers, and a concert.[39] 3,500 people were reported to have attended the concert.[40]

On June 8, Berryz Kobo released their 26th single, titled "Ai no Dangan".[35][41]

On August 10, Berryz Kobo released their 27th single, titled "Aa, Yo ga Akeru".[42][43]

2012[edit]

In 2012, Berryz Kobo's leader Saki Shimizu announced on her official blog that on March 21 new Berryz Kobo's single "Be Genki! (Naseba Naru)" will be released.

Berryz' 8th album Ai no Album 8 was released on February 22.[44]

On June 8–10, Berryz Kobo appeared at AnimeNEXT in Somerset, New Jersey,[45] which was their second live performance in USA.

On June 20, Berryz Kobo releases its second collaboration CD single with the fellow Hello! Project Kids group Cute, named "Chō Happy Song" ("Superhappy Song"). The title tune is a mix of two previously published songs, Berryz Kobo's "Because Happiness" and Cute's "Shiawase no Tochū" ("On the Road to Happiness") from their 2012 albums. Both tracks were intentionally composed and produced by Tsunku to form a new song when played simultaneously.[46][47][48] The trick was originally scheduled to be announced at a summer Hello! Project concert, but was uncovered by fans in mid-April.[46][48] The song became a hot topic[47] on the Internet, and a set of the three tracks, "Because Happiness", "Shiawase no Tochū ", and "Chō Happy Song", was hastily released as a digital download single on April 28.[48]

On July 25, Berryz Kobo released their 29th single, "Cha Cha Sing",[49] a cover song of the popular Thai song "Row Mah Sing" by artist Thongchai McIntyre. The single was Berryz Kobo's first single to include a solo song, "Momochi! Yurushite-nyan Taisō".

2013[edit]

It was announced on May 19 in Tokyo's Hibiya Park that Berryz Kobo would be holding a concert at the Nippon Budokan arena on November 29, 2013.[50]

On October 2, the group released their 33rd single, "Motto Zutto Issho ni Itakatta", which became their highest selling single (with a reported total of 40,845 copies,) beating Dschinghis Khan's 37,096 copies. On November 11, Berryz Kobo held their special concert at the Nippon Budokan.

2014: Tenth anniversary and indefinite suspension[edit]

It was announced on August 2, 2014, at the summer Hello! Project concerts that Berryz Kobo would be going on an "indefinite suspension from spring 2015.[51] The girls decided together that they would like to explore other opportunities. The decision to call this an "indefinite suspension" was made since the girls felt calling this move a "disbandment" would cause Berryz Kobo to disappear or fade away.[52] The group will continue its activities through to spring 2015, in which their final appearances and performances will be announced and take place. Until that final date, the group will continue to release new singles, albums, and go on tour. Tsunku added he would "like to see them chase new dreams" and asked for continued support throughout their remaining time as an active group.[53]

Performances outside of Japan[edit]

Berryz Kobo have had performances and appearances outside of Japan for overseas fans numerous times.

In 2009, M-net and Up-Front Works arranged a Berryz Kobo mini-concert in South Korea on June 21, 2009, at Yonsei University Auditorium, titled Berryz Kobo Mini Live in Korea.[21] This was the group's 1st concert outside of Japan.

In 2010, Berryz Kobo was chosen out of Morning Musume and Cute to perform in Thailand. Their concert was held on March 27, 2010, at the Hua Mark Indoor Stadium, or formally known as Rajamangala National Stadium.[33] This was the second performance by Berryz Kobo outside of Japan.

On the last day of the Berryz Kobo's fall 2010 concert tour, Berryz Kobo's captain Saki Shimizu announced that the group would be performing at the anime convention Sakura-Con in Seattle, USA on April 22–24, 2011.[54]

When Sakura-Con came around, it was a big success for Berryz Kobo. The seven-member Hello! Project idol group Berryz Kobo made their American concert debut at Sakura-Con 2011[37] for an audience of 3,500 fans.[40] Fans traveled from all over the world including multiple parts of the USA, plus Canada, France, Mexico, and Japan to support the pop vocal group who is celebrating their 7th year together. The Berryz Kobo members kept busy during the April 22–24 weekend, appearing at the event's opening and closing ceremonies, participating in a live audience Q&A and two separate 60-minute sessions where they signed autographs for their fans,[38] and an hour long concert[39] which consisted of 14 songs.[40] And not only was this Berryz Kobo's 3rd performance outside of Japan, but it was the first performance outside of Asia. And also they were the third Hello! Project major act to perform outside of Asia after Morning Musume, who has performed in Los Angeles in 2009 and Paris in 2010, and Erina Mano, who performed in Los Angeles in 2010.

On November 13, 2011, during their Berikyū single release event, Berryz Kobo announced they would be attending AnimeNEXT, an anime convention in Somerset, New Jersey on June 8–10, 2012.

Discography[edit]

Singles[edit]

No. Title Release date Chart
position
Oricon
Weekly
Singles
Chart[12]
1 "Anata Nashi de wa Ikite Yukenai" (あなたなしでは生きてゆけない?) March 3, 2004 18
2 "Fighting Pose wa Date ja Nai!" (ファイティングポーズはダテじゃない!?) April 28, 2004 25
3 "Piriri to Yukō!" (ピリリと行こう!?) May 26, 2004 37
4 "Happiness (Kōfuku Kangei!)" (ハピネス~幸福歓迎!~?) August 25, 2004 20
5 "Koi no Jubaku" (恋の呪縛?) November 10, 2004 13
6 "Special Generation" (スッペシャル ジェネレ~ション?) March 30, 2005 7
7 "Nanchū Koi o Yatterū You Know?" (なんちゅう恋をやってるぅ YOU KNOW??) June 8, 2005 13
8 "21ji made no Cinderella" (21時までのシンデレラ?) August 3, 2005 13
9 "Gag 100kaibun Aishite Kudasai" (ギャグ100回分愛してください?) November 23, 2005 19
10 "Jiriri Kiteru" (ジリリ キテル?) March 29, 2006 6
11 "Waracchaō yo Boyfriend" (笑っちゃおうよ BOYFRIEND?) August 2, 2006 15
12 "Munasawagi Scarlet" (胸さわぎスカーレット?) December 6, 2006 11
13 "Very Beauty" (VERY BEAUTY?) March 7, 2007 11
14 "Kokuhaku no Funsui Hiroba" (告白の噴水広場?) June 27, 2007 4
15 "Tsukiatteru no ni Kataomoi" (付き合ってるのに片思い?) November 28, 2007 6
16 "Dschinghis Khan" (ジンギスカン?) March 12, 2008 5
17 "Yuke Yuke Monkey Dance" (行け 行け モンキーダンス?) July 9, 2008 4
18 "Madayade" (MADAYADE?) November 5, 2008 6
19 "Dakishimete Dakishimete" (抱きしめて 抱きしめて?) March 11, 2009 8
20 "Seishun Bus Guide / Rival" (青春バスガイド/ライバル?) June 3, 2009 4
21 "Watashi no Mirai no Danna-sama / Ryūsei Boy" (私の未来のだんな様/流星ボーイ?) November 11, 2009 5
22 "Otakebi Boy Wao! / Tomodachi wa Tomodachi Nanda!" (雄叫びボーイ WAO!/友達は友達なんだ!?) March 3, 2010 3
23 "Maji Bomber!!" (本気ボンバー!!?) July 14, 2010 6
24 "Shining Power!!" (シャイニング パワー!!?) November 10, 2010 7
25 "Heroine ni Narō ka!" (ヒロインになろうか!?) March 2, 2011 7
26 "Ai no Dangan!" (愛の弾丸!?) June 8, 2011 11
27 "Aa, Yo ga Akeru" (ああ、夜が明ける?) August 10, 2011 7
28 "Be Genki (Naseba Naru!)" (Be 元気<成せば成るっ!>?) March 21, 2012 9
29 "Cha Cha Sing" (cha cha SING?) July 25, 2012 6
30 "Want" (WANT!?) December 19, 2012 3
31 "Asian Celebration" (アジアン セレブレイション?) March 13, 2013 8
32 "Golden Chinatown / Sayonara Usotsuki na Watashi" (ゴールデンチャイナタウン/サヨナラ ウソつきの私?) June 19, 2013 6
33 "Motto Zutto Issho ni Itakatta / Rock Erotic" (もっとずっと一緒に居たかった/ROCKエロティック?) October 2, 2013 4

Collaboration singles[edit]

Albums[edit]

No. Title Release date Notes Chart
position
Oricon
Weekly
Albums
Chart[55]
1 1st Chō Berryz (1st 超ベリーズ?) July 7, 2004 18
2 Dai 2 Seichōki (第②成長記?) November 16, 2005 19
2.5 Special! Best Mini ~2.5 Maime no Kare~ (スッペシャル!ベストミニ ~2.5枚目の彼~?) December 7, 2005 Mini-album 45
3 3 Natsu Natsu Mini Berryz (③夏夏ミニベリーズ?) July 5, 2006 Mini-album 20
4 4th Ai no Nanchara Shisū (4th 愛のなんちゃら指数?) August 1, 2007 14
5 5 (Five) (5(FIVE)?) September 10, 2008 11
Berryz Kobo Special Best Vol. 1 (Berryz工房 スッペシャル ベスト Vol.1?) January 14, 2009 Compilation 11
6 6th Otakebi Album (6th 雄叫びアルバム?) March 31, 2010 12
7 7 Berryz Times (7 Berryz タイムス?) March 30, 2011 10
8 Ai no Album 8 (愛のアルバム⑧?) February 22, 2012 25
9 Berryz Mansion 9kai (Berryzマンション9階?) January 30, 2013 24

Bibliography[edit]

Concert tours[edit]

Awards[edit]

Asia Song Festival[edit]

Year Recipient Award Result
2008 Berryz Kobo (group) Best Asian Newcomer Award[2] Won

Japan Cable Awards[edit]

The Japan Cable Awards (日本有線大賞 Nihon Yūsen Taishō?) are sponsored by the National Cable Music Broadcasters Association (全国有線音楽放送協会?).

Year Recipient Award Result
2008 "Dschinghis Khan" Cable Music Award[2][4] Won
Grand Prix* Nominated

* awarded to the most requested song of the year on the cable radio

References[edit]

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