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|Also known as||Minihams, Minimoni to Takahashi Ai, Shin Minimoni|
2009–2011 (as Shin Minimoni)
|Associated acts||Morning Musume, Tanpopo, Coconuts Musume, W (Double You), Baka Tono-sama to Minimoni Hime, S/mileage, Dream Morning Musume|
|Past members||Mari Yaguchi
Minimoni (ミニモニ。?) was a subgroup of the Japanese idol pop girl group Morning Musume, and a later a group within Hello! Project. In 2009 Minimoni was revived as Shin Minimoni (translating to New Minimoni) and remained active until 2011.
Original Minimoni (2000-2004)
The group was founded in late 2000 by Morning Musume member Mari Yaguchi. Together with Morning Musume's songwriter and producer, Tsunku, she selected two new members, Ai Kago and Nozomi Tsuji and the trio began performing in concerts as Minimoni. American-born Mika Todd from the band Coconuts Musume was later added to the group. Their debut single, "Minimoni Jankenpyon!," was a #1 hit.
The quartet released several singles in 2001 and 2002, with most of these tracks compiled on their first album Minimoni Song Daihyakka Ikkan. Simultaneous to their single releases, the band became the subject of a series of short cartoons, Minimoni Yaru no da Pyon!, voicing their own characters. They also contributed their voices to a string of movies based on the Hamtaro cartoon series, which featured a hamster version of Minimoni known as Minihams. The group released three singles under this name.
In 2002, Mari Yaguchi graduated from Minimoni to take on the leadership of the subgroup ZYX, one of the first Hello! Project groups to incorporate members of the Hello! Project Kids (who would later split into Berryz Kobo and Cute). Ai Takahashi also joined the group, while Mika Todd, took over Yaguchi's place as the band's leader. That same year, all members of Minimoni filmed the movie Minimoni ja Movie: Okashi na Daibōken! (Minimoni The Movie: The Great Cake Adventure), which explained Yaguchi leaving Minimoni and how Takahashi joined the band.
They started to have a more mature, modern R&B-heavy sound to their music with the single "Crazy About You," a style the group explored more heavily on their second album Minimoni Songs 2. However, their silly side was also well represented on the album with two of the songs they contributed to Hamtaro as Minihams. Former member Yaguchi also appears on three cuts, two of which previously appeared on the Okashi na Daibōken soundtrack. They also starred in a mini-series called Minimoni de Bremen no Ongakutai starring Takahashi, Tsuji, and Kago; Mika Todd made brief appearances in two episodes.
Minimoni in American media
In February 2006, Minimoni's name was invoked on American television (NBC's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno) during a skit claiming that one of Leno's house band members had started out as a member of Minimoni; a manipulated picture of the Leno band member with Minimoni (in their outfits from the cover of Minimoni Songs 2) was aired as part of the sketch.
In June 2007, an excerpt from a November 2000 appearance by Minimoni on Hello! Morning of a prairie dog suddenly turning his head became the basis for the Internet phenomenon The Dramatic Chipmunk. A parody of the Dramatic Chipmunk clip, including lookalikes of Minimoni, appears in Weezer's music video for their 2008 single "Pork and Beans". The real Minimoni did not appear because of licensing issues, their lack of mainstream recognition in America, and other logistical difficulties (including the fact that both Mika Todd and Ai Kago were no longer contracted by Up-Front Works by that time).
Minimoni's revival (2009-2011)
On May 26, 2009, Minimoni's original leader, Mari Yaguchi, posted a blog discussing how the head producer of Hello! Project, Tsunku, had contacted her asking for permission to bring the group out of hiatus. Tsunku would later make a post on his own blog confirming that Minimoni would be revived with an entirely new line-up, confirming S/mileage member Kanon Fukuda as the first member. Morning Musume's Linlin was announced later as the group's leader, and that Hello Pro Eggs Akari Takeuchi and Karin Miyamoto would be the final two members in the new line-up. This line-up is referred to as Shin Minimoni (新ミニモニ。?, New Minimoni). They released a new cover song in 2009 called "Tentomushi no Samba" to the Hello! Project compilation Champloo 1: Happy Marriage Song Cover Shū and a brand new original song later in the same year called "Pen Pen Kyoudai" on the Hello! Project compilation Petit Best 10.
In 2010, Shin Minimoni was scheduled to release a new single as part of a joint shuffle release during the summer of 2010, however, the release was cancelled for reasons unknown. Despite the cancellation, Shin Minimoni continued performing in Hello! Projects concerts as always. In August 2010, Linlin's graduation was announced. On the last day of Morning Musume's fall 2010 tour, Rival Survival, Linlin graduated from Morning Musume, and thus left Shin Minimoni as well. (She has returned to China since her graduation.) Fukuda Kanon was named the new leader of Shin Minimoni and the three remaining members proceeded to perform as a trio in the Hello! Project 2011 winter concert. There has been no further activity from Shin Minimoni since 2011.
Since the winter concert in 2011, no future activity has been announced for Shin Minimoni.
Post-Shin Minimoni Careers
- Linlin graduated from Morning Musume and Hello! Project alongside Junjun and Eri Kamei on December 15, 2010, effectively leaving Shin Minimoni. Since her graduation, she has returned to China to continue her activities. In June 2013, she released her debut EP album called "Zhan Dou", which has a heavy idol and J-Pop influence, leading fans to dub her as the Chinese version of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu.
- Fukuda Kanon became the new leader of Shin Minimoni following Linlin's departure and remained the leader until Shin Minimoni stopped activities sometime in 2011. Since then, Fukuda has continued activities as a member of ANGERME (formerly known as S/mileage) and also participated in the SATOYAMA unit HI-FIN in 2013. On May 20, 2015, Fukuda Kanon announced her graduation from ANGERME and Hello! Project to take place on November 29, 2015 at Nippon Budokan during ANGERME's fall tour. Fukuda has said that she would like to become the first former Hello! Project member to become a lyricist after graduating.
- Akari Takeuchi passed the auditions to join ANGERME (then known as S/mileage) as a second generation member, putting her in the same group as former Shin Minimoni member Fukuda Kanon. Akari was also a member of the SATOYAMA unit Harvest in 2012. She is currently still a member of ANGERME and Hello! Project.
- Karin Miyamoto auditioned to be a second generation member of ANGERME (then known as S/mileage) in 2011, but failed to pass the auditions. Following this, Karin began participating in different plays as well as participating in the one shot unit Reborn Eleven until auditioning for Morning Musume in 2012 and, once again, failed to pass the auditions. She later participated in Hello! Pro Kenshuusei's first single "Kanojo ni Naritai!!!". On February 3, 2013, Karin joined the new Hello! Project unit Juice=Juice and also participated in the SATOYAMA unit Jurin the same year. Karin is still currently a member of Juice=Juice and Hello! Project.
|1||"Minimoni Jankenpyon! / Haru Natsu Aki Fuyu Daisukki!"
|17 January 2001||1||Minimoni Song
|2||"Minimoni Telephone! Rin Rin Rin / Minimoni Bus Guide"
|12 September 2001||1|
|3||"Minihams no Ai no Uta" (ミニハムずの愛の唄?)||5 December 2001||3|
|4||"Minimoni Hinamatsuri!/Mini Strawberry Pie"
|30 January 2002||2|
|5||"Aiin Taisō / Aiin! Dance no Uta" (アイ〜ン体操/アイ〜ン!ダンスの唄?)||24 April 2002||3|
|6||"Genki Jirushi no Ōmori Song/Okashi Tsukutte Okkasi!"
|27 November 2002||9||Minimoni Songs 2|
|7||"Minihams no Kekkon Song" (ミニハムずの結婚ソング?)||4 December 2002||10|
|8||"Rock 'n' Roll Kenchōshozaichi (Oboechaina Series)"
|9 April 2003||7|
|9||"Minimoni Kazoe Uta (Ofuro Version) / Minimoni Kazoe Uta (Date Version)"
|14 May 2003||9|
|10||"Crazy About You" (CRAZY ABOUT YOU?)||16 October 2003||5|
|11||'Mirakururun Grand Purin! / Pi~hyara Kouta"
|19 November 2003||22|
|12||"Lucky Cha Cha Cha!" (ラッキーチャチャチャ！?)||21 April 2004||6||—|
|1||Minimoni Song Daihyakka Ikkan
|—||Minimoni ja Movie: Okashi na Daibōken! Original Soundtrack
|2||Minimoni Songs 2 (ミニモニ。ソングズ2?)||
- "Leno and Minimoni".
- Langdon Alger (2007-06-24). "Origin of the "Chipmunk" clip". Retrieved 2007-07-04.
- "BREAKING: Dramatic Chipmunk - From Japanese TV Show Hello! Morning". 2007-06-23. Archived from the original on 2007-06-30. Retrieved 2007-07-04.
- Kawaiirrhea (2008-05-23). "Mini Moni meets Weezer". Retrieved 2008-05-25.
- Yaguchi, Mari (2009-05-26). "New Minimoni" (in Japanese). I'm a Beginner: Mari Yaguchi Official Blog.
- Tsunku (2009-05-27). "Minimoni" (in Japanese). Tsunku Official Blog.
- Tsunku (2009-06-03). "Minimoni" (in Japanese). Tsunku Official Blog.
- "Kamei Eri, Junjun, Linlin graduate from Morning Musume".
- "my sky_琳琳_新浪博客".
- Two weeks at No. 1
15th most selling single of the year 2001