A couple of days ago, one of the longest running idol groups in Japan held their farewell concert at the Nippon Budoukan with thousands of fans attending. Personally, I been a fan since they released their debut single in 2004; watching these once elementary school girls grow into beautiful ladies. During the years, their music even spread across the globe in various places like the USA, France, Thailand, and beyond.
Although their farewell concert was full of tears and such heartbreak, this blog post will have none of that. Instead, let’s take the time to remember what Berryz Koubou accomplished as each member heads down on their paths to the future.
What is Berryz Koubou?
Berryz Koubou is a Japanese idol group that was formed in late 2003 with eight members from Morning Musume’s “little sister”-like training program called Hello! Project Kids. The program was formed in 2002 after a group of about fifteen elementary-aged girls successful auditioned for Hello! Project. Initially, Berryz Koubou was planned to have a ever-changing lineup as girls from Hello! Project Kids would be shuffled in and out of the group constantly. However, that plan was abandoned for unknown reasons as the rest of the Hello! Project Kids members went onto to form their own group called °C-ute.
Berryz Koubou released their first single, entitled “Anata Nashi de wa Ikite Yukenai”, on Hinamatsuri (a festival day for girls that is held on March 3) 2004. “Anata Nashi de wa Ikite Yukenai” isn’t describe as a typical idol song as it contains a funky beat, R&B meets pop melodies, Indian instruments, and the girls wearing shiny hip hop street clothing. But, they weren’t just an R&B-sounding group, their sound was always changing with every release. Over their long-standing careers, Berryz sang anything from sugary pop to doo-wop and beyond. Sadly, we didn’t get Metal Berryz! That is left up to the fans to produce their own remixes! Evil Morning, anymore?
(A little side note: The group had eight members when they made their debut. However, one of the girls, Maiha Ishimura, graduated in 2005 to focus more on schooling. Since then, Berryz has had a stable lineup. You might get confused with the number of girls in the above picture with the one at the end of this post.)
Why Berryz Koubou? Why do you like them? What is so special about these guys? Those are probably some of the questions you are asking. Let me explain!
Well, maybe it wouldn’t be an easy explanation. Let me start from the beginning. I been a fan of Berryz Koubou since their third single, “Piriri to Yukou”, releaserd in the summer of 2004. At that time, I was a “freshman turning into a sophomore” high school student in love with their sister groups and friends like Goto Maki, Morning Musume, W, and other girls. Beside the sugary cute songs and innocence lyrics, what attract me to Berryz or any girls groups is the wanting to be THAT girl featured in Berryz. I wanted to be really pretty, have really good clothes, and have the ability to sing and dance despite being a nerd with no musical talent back then. I remember when I covered my first Berryz Koubou song exactly ten years ago in a cover group called Ongaku! Project. Oh, the horrors! I really sound bad back then!
As the girls got older, I still admired them for their amazing skills. However, recently I have felt like they been apart of life as we all grown up together. Even though I am only three or four years older than the oldest member in Berryz, I feel like we experienced many things together; heartbreak, happiness, pain, triumph, and such. It does sound a little weird but let me put it in another perspective. My father’s idol has always been Michael Jackson, from the time he made his debut in the Jackson 5 till his death. My dad always admired Jackson because they are about the same age and that my dad would always turn on the TV and see his idol growing up like Jackson was part of my dad’s family. That is how I feel like with Berryz; these girls made me feel like their were my friends and/or family members.
What is your favorite member and song?
I can admit when I first became a Berryz fan, my favorite member was Risako. I don know why, maybe for her singing voice or her uniqueness. As time went by, I gradually became a fan of each girl as each member possesses their own unique qualities: Miyabi and her rock-girl image (see Buono!), Momoko with her cute annoyance, Chinami with her charming cuteness, Risako with her exotic beauty, Saki and her amazing makeover (and hair colors!), Maasa with her funny personality, and Yurina with her elegance.
As for songs, I reallllllllllllllly love a lot of their stuff! But, if I had to choose one song, I would definitely say “Yuke Yuke Monkry Dance” as my favorite. Why? Because it’s such an awesome song with it’s monkey dance routines, oddball lyrics about Japan, monkeys, and dancing, and a really cool melody! Besides, who doen’t want to dress up in these monkey costumes?!
Whatever the future holds from me and these girls, Berryz Koubou will always have a special place in my heart.