Morning Musume Tanjou 10en Kinentai was a special Hello! Project unit that was created in 2007 to celebrate Morning Musume’s 10th anniversary. The name of the unit translates to “celebrating Morning Musume’s 10th birthday special unit”. The unit consisted of 5 graduated and present Morning Musume members. Tsunku explained that the original Morning Musume members debut age ranged from 13 – 24 years old, so for this special unit he selected members that was close to this age range to make it appear like the original group’s formation. Interesting enough, all the members selected came from an odd number generation.
Though the group was only active in 2007 they released 2 singles and had a concert tour before going on hiatus at the end of the year.
1st Generation Member
Years active as member of Morning Musume: 1997 – 2005
Debut single: Ai no Tane
Birth Date: August 8, 1981
Birth place: Hokkaido
1st Generation Member
Years active as member of Morning Musume: 1997 – 2004
Debut single: Ai no Tane
Birth Date: August 10, 1981
Birth place: Hokkaido
3rd Generation Member
Years active as member of Morning Musume: 1999 – 2002
Debut single: Love Machine
Birth Date: September 23, 1985
Birth place: Tokyo
5th Generation Member
Years active as member of Morning Musume: 2001 – present
Debut single: Mr. Moonlight ~Ai no Big Band~
Birth Date: October 20, 1988
Birth place: Kanagawa
7th Generation Member
Years active as member of Morning Musume: 2005 – 2009
Debut single: Iroppoi Jirettai
Birth Date: July 15, 1992
Birth place: Niigata
The group released its first single on January 24, 2007 entitled Bokura ga Ikiru My Asia which translated to Where we live MY ASIA. The song is an upbeat ballad and contains Asian instruments that give it an Eastern sound. Though the single was used as an image song for Cirque du Soleil, it also delivers a “hidden” message: although the line-up is always changing and it has been 10 years since their debut, Morning Musume is still going strong and will continue to do so for a very long time. On the other hand the b-side Juunen Ai, meaning 10 years love, doesn’t contain any deep meaning lyrics. In fact some will even say it doesn’t make sense at all. But if you ask any Hello! Project fan, they’ll tell you that is not true because the song is made up of a number of different Morning Musume song references. An a-side that states Morning Musume is still going strong and a b-side that is meant to be a fun one for the fans, this was definitely a strong and interesting first single for the group.
The single debuted at number 4 on the daily Oricon chart, but falls to number 8 on the weekly charts. A limited edition version was released with a different cover, special packaging and 5 photo cards. While the first press for the regular edition came with 1 photo card. The single V was released on Feburary 21, 2007 with the original Bokura ga Ikiru My Asia PV, a close-up version, and a making of clip. The PV for Bokura ga Ikiru My Asia features the girls with 3 main scenes: solo shots with computer graphics, solo shots in a Japanese style room and a group/dance shot. The solo shots of the girls with the computer graphics is quite breath taking: the computer graphic consists of trees and flower petals floating around, and it is design to make it seem like the girls are walking through this scene of nature and embracing it with the wind in their hair.
On July 6, 2007 Kaori surprised everyone by announcing that she was 10 weeks pregnant and was to wed Kenji, a former member of the disbanded 7 House. At this point plans for a second single and a concert tour had already been announced, and it was reported that Kaori will complete these two activities before going on her maternity leave.
The group’s second single is another upbeat ballad and was released on August 8, 2007 entitled Itoshiki Tomo e. This song contains a double meaning because while the title is read and translate to To a Beloved Friend, the kanji that is used to refer to this “friend” (akuyuu) actually means bad companion. The b-side is a more positive and upbeat track entitled Michi Naru Mirai e, which translate as To an Unknown Future. This song delivers the message that there is no point in looking to the past because it won’t change, and that we should embrace the future for whatever it may hold.
While most fans found a liking to this single more than the group’s debut release, it actually did worst on the oricon chart debuting at number 5 on the daily charts and number 15 on the weekly charts. A limited edition version was also released for this single with a different cover and a bonus DVD that contained a close-up version of the PV, while the first press regular edition only had 1 photo card as a bonus item. The single V was released on August 22, 2007 which contained the original Itoshiki Tomo he PV, a 5-shot version and the making of clip. The setting for the Itoshiki Tomo he PV takes place inside and around a mansion. Throughout the PV, the girls are seen in various parts of the mansion either putting on makeup or using other accessories like mirror and comb. This PV is more about capturing the glamor and elegant side of the girls, as even the group shot scene is set up as if the girls are in an artistic beauty photo shoot.
The group’s final activity was a concert tour that began on August 11, 2007 and ended on September 1, 2007 entitled Morning Musume Tanjou 10 Nen Kinentai Concert Tour 2007 Natsu ~Thank You My Dearest~. In all, the girls did 15 shows in 4 different cities. Due to Kaori’s pregnancy, she spend less time on stage compare to the other girls and did not par take in any of the songs that required a lot of big movements like Love Machine. Toward the end of the tour, Maki was absent for 6 of the concerts due to a case of gastritis. In her absence, Yoshizawa Hitomi, Ishikawa Rika and Yasuda Kei took turns appearing as a special guest that did a MC portion with Natsumi in place of Maki.
The concert was released as a DVD on November 14, 2007 that included a special backstage clip.
After the concert ended, Kaori went on her maternity leave. Shortly after Maki graduated from not only Hello! Project, but also from Up-Front Agency in October 2007. And with Kaori and Natsumi recent graduation from Hello! Project along with the members of the Elder Club in March 2009, it can be assume that the group has disbanded.
Itoshiki Tomo e – Single V
This article was made in celebration of Morning Musume’s USA debut in this year’s LA Anime Expo 2009. Having the girls over in the US is certain a big step for the group, just like the 10th anniversary was for them back in 2007. Though this time I am not physically able to attend this great event, I am sending all my wishes to the girls, all the fans that will be attending this event and hope this is the start of many more oversea events to come!