Ai Kago and Nozomi Tsuji
|Also known as||Double You, Double U|
W (ダブルユー Daburuyū?), also written as Double You or Double U, was a Japanese pop duo associated with Hello! Project. Formed in 2004, its members solely consisted of Nozomi Tsuji and Ai Kago, former fourth generation members of Morning Musume, were in the group. The duo ultimately disbanded in 2007 following Kago's dismissal from their agency.
2004: Formation and debut
W's formation was announced not long after the "graduation" of Kago and Tsuji from Morning Musume was announced in early 2004. At the time, the duo—longtime best friends since they met at the auditions that landed them in Morning Musume in 2000—were simultaneously in both Morning Musume and one of its most popular subgroups (or side projects), Mini Moni. The latter group was about to be disbanded with the departure of Mika Todd; with Kago and Tsuji almost at a complete loose end, the decision to pair the two best friends and lifelong bandmates together in a new group was made almost immediately.
As they were winding down their Mini Moni and Morning Musume duties, W released their debut three-song EP, Koi no Vacance, the title track being a rocked-up cover version of a 1960s hit by Showa period female duo The Peanuts. The EP was followed a few weeks later by their debut album as W, Duo U&U, which contained covers of other Showa period female duo songs exclusively. One of the other groups covered by W on the first album was Pink Lady. Since Kago and Tsuji had done two Pink Lady songs ("Southpaw" and "Nagisa no Sinbad") on Duo U&U, Pink Lady were invited to perform with W on Japanese television as a one-time four-piece ensemble.
Kago and Tsuji performed their graduation concert (final performance as members of Morning Musume) in August 2004; a week later, their second single "Aa Ii na!" was released. Not only was it the duo's first release since they departed Morning Musume, it was also the first W single to feature an original composition by Hello! Project founder and producer Tsunku. A third single of original material, "Robo Kiss", followed three months later.
In December 2004, W joined their fellow Hello! Project members on the 2004 shuffle unit single "All for One and One for All", credited to the H.P. All Stars. W also began joining Morning Musume onstage at concerts during this period to perform Kago and Tsuji's final Morning Musume single, "Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari" together with their former bandmates.
2005: Rise to popularity
W's second album, 2005's 2nd W, released not even ten months after their first album, contained an even balance of new W originals and more Showa period classic J-pop cover songs, many of them topically centering on the end of the duo's teenage years. Their prolific pace continued when a new non-LP single, the Devo-influenced "Ai no Imi o Oshiete!", followed a few months afterwards.
In videos and in concert appearances, W sometimes perform or co-headline with Berryz Kobo, the eight-member pre-teen girl group formed under Hello! Project. Berryz Kobo have appeared as dancers on W's "Aa Ii na!" and "Robo Kiss" videos.
In the spring of 2005, W starred in their first concert musical, Cara & Mel, the Case of the Stolen Dangerous Violin, a stage show which was afterwards released on DVD. In September 2005 the duo released their 6th single "Miss Love Tantei". The song and video feature a more mature Kago and Tsuji and actually earned them not only critical acclaim, but also some comparisons to Russian pop group t.A.T.u. because of the song intro's unintentional resemblance to "Not Gonna Get Us". The video, which features Kago and Tsuji playing multiple roles, including a reprisal of their stage musical roles of Cara and Mel, raised even more eyebrows when the duo were depicted adopting the controversial ganguro look in one scene.
In addition to their musical career, W continued to appear on Hello! Project's weekly TV show Hello! Morning, often in tandem with Morning Musume.
2006-2007: Kago's suspension and disbandment
On January 11, 2006, the release of a new single, "Dō ni mo Tomaranai" on February 22, followed by their third full-length album, W3: Faithful on March 15, was announced. However, they were pushed back after photographs of Kago smoking underage were published in Friday in February 2006. Hello! Project issued a press statement saying that Kago and W's activities had been suspended "indefinitely". Kago was put under house arrest for a year and was not allowed to contact Tsuji.
In January 2007, Kago returned to Tokyo and did assorted clerical work at her agency's office while the company was making preparations for her comeback. Not long after, photographs of Kago smoking underage for a third time, as well as going on a "dirty weekend trip" to an onsen with a 37-year-old man, began circulating in the media, completely tarnishing her reputation. Kago was dismissed from the company, and W disbanded as a result. 
|1||"Koi no Vacance"||May 19, 2004|
|2||"Aa Ii na!"||August 18, 2004|
|3||"Robo Kiss"||October 14, 2004|
|4||"Koi no Fuga"||February 9, 2005|
|5||"Ai no Imi o Oshiete!"
(theme song of the TV program, "Chuunen!" (っちゅ～ねん!?)
|May 18, 2005|
|6||"Miss Love Tantei"||September 7, 2005|
|7||"Dō ni mo Tomaranai" (どうにもとまらない?)||Cancelled|
|1||Duo U&U||June 2, 2004|
|2||2nd W||March 2, 2005|
- W DVD Magazine vol.1
- W&Berryz DVD Magazine vol.2
- Single V, Koi no Vacance (シングルV・恋のバカンス?)
- W no Eizo no Sekai Vol. 1 (Wの映像の世界Vol. 1?)
- Single V, Robo Kiss (シングルV・ロボキッス?)
- Single V, Koi no Fuga (シングルV・恋のフーガ?)
- Single V, Ai no Imi o Oshiete! (シングルV・愛の意味を教えて!?)
- Single V, Miss Love Tantei (シングルV・Missラブ探偵?)
- 2004 Natsu First Concert Tour ~ W Standby! Double U & Berryz Kobo! (2004夏 ファーストコンサートツアー!~Wスタンバイ! ダブルユー&ベリーズ工房?)
- 2005 nen Natsu W & Berryz Koubou Concert Tour "HIGH SCORE" (2005年夏 W&Berryz工房 コンサートツアー『HIGH SCORE！』?)
- Cara & Mel, the Case of the Stolen Dangerous Violin (ふしぎ少女探偵 キャラ&メル 魔のヴァイオリン盗難事件?)
- 20 January 2005 – 50W
- U+U=W Essaybook
- Hello! Morning (ハロー!モーニング。?) - TV Tokyo, etc. (The Fighters W)
- Oha Suta (おはスタ?) - TXN stations (TV Tokyo, TV Hokkaido, TV Aichi, TV Osaka, TV Setouchi, and TVQ Kyushu Broadcasting), Biwako Broadcasting, Nara TV, and TV Wakayama (CD releases in 2004, from January 11, 2005 as Cara and Mel, from September 8 as Miss Love Tantei)
- Cara & Mel, the Case of the Stolen Dangerous Violin (ふしぎ少女探偵 キャラ&メル 魔のヴァイオリン盗難事件?) - at Yokohama BLITZ (Yokohama) and Ikebukuro Sun Shine Theater (Ikebukuro, Tokyo), from March 18, 2005 until April 10, 2005
- "W（ダブルユー）3月発売予定シングル・アルバム・シングルV発売中止のお知らせ" (in Japanese). Helloproject.com. 2006-02-10.
- "Mainichi Daily News". mdn.mainichi-msn.co.jp. Retrieved 2006-02-09.
- "Hello! Project -Official Site-" (in Japanese). helloproject.com. 2006-02-10. Archived from the original on 2006-05-13.
- "Some News Reports about Ai Kago" (in Japanese). hellproject.com. 2006-03-26.