Berryz Kobo in 2012. From left to right:
Saki Shimizu, Momoko Tsugunaga, Chinami Tokunaga, Maasa Sudo, Miyabi Natsuyaki, Yurina Kumai, and Risako Sugaya.
|Years active||2004–2015 (hiatus)|
|Website||Berryz Kobo on YouTube|
|Past members||Saki Shimizu|
Berryz Kobo (Berryz工房 Berryz Kōbō, literally "Berryz Workshop") was a Japanese idol girl group. The pop group was part of Hello! Project, produced by Tsunku, who also wrote their songs. Of all the musical acts in Hello! Project, Berryz held 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. In 2007, Berryz Kobo set the record for being the youngest act ever to give a solo concert at Saitama Super Arena. 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. As of December 2014, the group had released 36 singles, 9 studio albums, 1 EP and 1 compilation album. Berryz Kobo's combined CD and DVD sales exceeded 1 million copies in Japan alone.
- 1 Members
- 2 History
- 2.1 2002–2003: Hello! Project Kids
- 2.2 2004: Formation and debut
- 2.3 2005: First top 10 hit and Ishimura's graduation
- 2.4 2006: Jiriri Kiteru
- 2.5 2007: Youngest concert at Saitama Super Arena
- 2.6 2008: Awards and NHK Kōhaku Uta Gassen
- 2.7 2009: Influenza and collaboration with Inazuma Eleven
- 2.8 2010: More Inazuma Eleven endings
- 2.9 2011: Oricon Daily number 1 and first concert in America
- 2.10 2012
- 2.11 2013
- 2.12 2014: Tenth anniversary and indefinite suspension
- 3 Performances outside Japan
- 4 Discography
- 5 Bibliography
- 6 Concert tours
- 7 Awards
- 8 References
- 9 External links
|Momoko Tsugunaga||Pink||Also a member of Buono!|
|Miyabi Natsuyaki||Purple||Sub-captain, also a member of Buono!|
- Maiha Ishimura (2004–2005)
2002–2003: Hello! Project Kids
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 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 short-lived, and their activities came to a stall with the creation of Berryz Kobo.
2004: Formation and debut
The formation of Berryz Kobo was announced at a Hello! Project club event on 14 January 2004. The band was composed of eight members of Hello! Project Kids, who were the so-called starting line-up, because, 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. Later, however, the idea was dismissed, and the remaining seven Hello! Project Kids members formed the group Cute in 2005.
Two more hit singles followed in April and May, and on 7 July the group already released its first album, titled 1st Chō Berryz.
2005: First top 10 hit and Ishimura's graduation
The single "Special Generation" was released on 30 March 2005, and ranked 7th in the Oricon Weekly Singles Chart. It was Berryz' first single to rank in the top 10, and their first to sell more than 20,000 copies. At that time, the group's average age was below 12 years.
On 11 September 2005, it was announced that Maiha Ishimura would graduate from Berryz Kobo and Hello! Project to focus on her studies. Ishimura's graduation took place on 2 October 2005, on the last night of the Berryz Kobo autumn 2005 concert tour.
2006: Jiriri Kiteru
2007: Youngest concert at Saitama Super Arena
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 1 April. 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. Its members' average age was 13.8, beating the previous record of 16.3, set by Morning Musume four years earlier.
2008: Awards and NHK Kōhaku Uta Gassen
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 along with the SM Entertainment group Shinee.
On 17 December, 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. The Grand Prix went to Exile for the song "Ti Amo," though.
2009: Influenza and collaboration with Inazuma Eleven
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.
On 25 April, 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.
In autumn 2009, Berryz got into the news after they all went down with the flu. It all started on Tuesday, 13 October, when Momoko Tsugunaga felt sick. On Wednesday, fans were notified that she was diagnosed with influenza and would be absent from the concert scheduled for Saturday. The very next day, first, Miyabi Natsuyaki was reported to be diagnosed with the flu after having felt sick the previous evening, and then it was announced that the Sunday concert had to be cancelled due to Maasa Sudo and Risako Sugaya also having influenza. The next day, Hello! Project reported that Saki Shimizu joined her friends, making it 5 members out of 7. But the story did not end there, because in the beginning of November, the flu got to Chinami Tokunaga, followed by Yurina Kumai a couple of days later; they had to miss the November 7 and 8 concerts.
2010: More Inazuma Eleven endings
On 3 March, Berryz released their third double A-side single, "Otakebi Boy Wao!/Tomodachi wa Tomodachi Nanda!" 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
On 3 March, the group started its seventh anniversary tour. 3 March is the day when, seven years previously, Berryz Kobo debuted with their first single, so they call this day Berryz Kobo no Hi ("Berryz Kobo's Day.")
The concert that was scheduled for 12 March 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 April, Berryz Kobo successfully performed to their American fans at Sakura-Con 2011, an anime convention in Seattle, Washington, United States. This was the first performance by Berryz Kobo in the United States of America. The group participated in events such as autograph sessions, questions and answers, and a concert. 3,500 people were reported to have attended the concert.
On 20 June, Berryz Kobo released its second collaboration CD single with 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. The trick was originally scheduled to be announced at a summer Hello! Project concert, but was uncovered by fans in mid-April. The song became a hot topic 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.
On 25 July, Berryz Kobo released their 29th single, "Cha Cha Sing," 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."
On 2 October, 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
It was announced on 2 August 2014, at the summer Hello! Project concerts that Berryz Kobo would be going on an "indefinite suspension from spring 2015. 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. The group continued 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.
On 24 February 2015, Shimizu Saki and Tokunaga Chinami announced on their blogs they would remain with the company as "H!P Advisors." They will act as the "go-between" for the staff and members. The next day Sugaya Risako announced she would take time off to focus on her personal life. The following day Kumai Yurina blogged she would finish her university degree and would pursue a modeling career.
Performances outside Japan
Berryz Kobo have performed and made appearances outside Japan for overseas fans numerous times.
In 2009 M-net and Up-Front Works arranged a Berryz Kobo mini-concert in South Korea on 21 June at Yonsei University Auditorium, titled Berryz Kobo Mini Live in Korea. This was the group's first concert outside Japan.
In 2010 Berryz Kobo was chosen out of Morning Musume and Cute to perform in Thailand. Their concert was held on 27 March at the Hua Mark Indoor Stadium, formally known as Rajamangala National Stadium. This was the second performance by Berryz Kobo outside 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, United States on 22–24 April 2011.
When Sakura-Con came around it was a success for Berryz Kobo. They made their American concert debut at Sakura-Con 2011 for an audience of 3,500 fans. Fans travelled from all over the world, including multiple parts of the US, Canada, France, Mexico and Japan to support the pop vocal group as they celebrated 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, and an hour-long concert which consisted of 14 songs. And not only was this Berryz Kobo's 3rd performance outside 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 had performed in Los Angeles in 2009 and Paris in 2010, and Erina Mano, who performed in Los Angeles in 2010.
- Studio albums
- 1st Chō Berryz (2004)
- Dai 2 Seichōki (2005)
- 3 Natsu Natsu Mini Berryz (2006)
- 4th Ai no Nanchara Shisū (2007)
- 5 (Five) (2008)
- 6th Otakebi Album (2010)
- 7 Berryz Times (2011)
- Ai no Album 8 (2012)
- Berryz Mansion 9kai (2013)
- Compilation albums
- Berryz Kobo Special Best Vol. 1 (2009)
- Berryz Kobo Special Best Vol. 2 (2014)
- Kanjuku Berryz Kobo The Final Completion Box (完熟Berryz工房 The Final Completion Box) (2015)
Asia Song Festival
|Year||Nominee / work||Award||Result|
|2008||Berryz Kobo (group)||Best Asian Newcomer Award||Won|
Japan Cable Awards
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||Nominee / work||Award||Result|
|2008||"Dschinghis Khan"||Cable Music Award||Won|
* awarded to the most requested song of the year on the cable radio
- Alisa Freedman; Laura Miller; Christine Yano (17 April 2013). Modern Girls on the Go: Gender, Mobility, and Labor in Japan. Stanford University Press. p. 126. ISBN 978-0804781145.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Berryz Kobo.|
- on 's channelYouTube
- Berryz Kobo's leader Saki Shimizu's official Ameblo blog (in Japanese)
- Berryz Kobo's official Hello! Project profile (in Japanese)
- Berryz Kobo official discography (in Japanese)
- Berryz Kobo Kiritsu! Rei! Chakuseki! website (in Japanese)
- List of reviews: Berryz Kobo - Hotexpress (in Japanese)