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It’s been a crazy summer in more ways than one! Here are the Mixi membership statistics for current Hello! Project members as of August 9, 2010. You’ll also see July numbers as well as growth.

Morning Musume

Performer Name Members – July 12 Members – August 9 Change
Takahashi Ai 3634 3695 61
Niigaki Risa 1555 1575 20
Michishige Sayumi 3334 3424 90
Kamei Eri 2797 3006 209
Tanaka Reina 4025 4071 46
Mitsui Aika 730 730 0
Junjun (Li Chun) 593 611 18
Linlin (Qian Lin) 385 386 1

Berryz Koubou

Performer Name Members – July 12 Members – August 9 Change
Shimizu Saki 933 960 27
Tsugunaga Momoko 3012 3047 35
Sudou Maasa 884 898 14
Tokunaga Chinami 745 752 7
Kumai Yurina 1203 1238 35
Natsuyaki Miyabi 2076 2096 20
Sugaya Risako 2464 2519 55

C-ute

Performer Name Members – July 12 Members – August 9 Change
Yajima Maimi 2001 2028 27
Nakajima Saki 1353 1363 10
Suzuki Airi 3682 3708 26
Okai Chisato 933 931 -2
Hagiwara Mai 1217 1202 -15

Mano Erina

Performer Name Members – July 12 Members – August 9 Change
Mano Erina 2421 2443 22

S/mileage

Performer Name Members – July 12 Members – August 9 Change
Wada Ayaka 1038 1127 89
Maeda Yuuka 1553 1671 118
Fukuda Kanon 1142 1186 44
Ogawa Saki 805 853 48

Top Ten – Fastest Growing

Performer Name Membership Growth
Kamei Eri 209
Maeda Yuuka 118
Michishige Sayumi 90
Wada Ayaka 89
Takahashi Ai 61
Sugaya Risako 55
Ogawa Saki 48
Tanaka Reina 46
Fukuda Kanon 44
Tsugunaka/Kumai 35

Top Ten – Largest Communities

Performer Name # of Members
Tanaka Reina 4071
Suzuki Airi 3708
Takahashi Ai 3695
Michishige Sayumi 3424
Tsugunaga Momoko 3047
Kamei Eri 3006
Sugaya Risako 2519
Mano Erina 2443
Natsuyaki Miyabi 2096
Yajima Maimi 2028

 

Commentary

If I had taken these numbers on the seventh rather than the ninth I think this would have looked a little different, don’t you? The vast majority of Eri’s community growth probably came from the graduation announcement. Yuuka seems to have gotten a boost from her PB release. In fact, all of S/mileage is gaining members at a good clip, though with the amount of promotion they are getting I kind of wish we’d see more. Reina and Sayumi are probably getting additional attention from their regular TV shows, and the promise of a Risako solo debut (albeit as a voice actress) seems to have given her a boost as well.

Suzuki Airi has upset Ai-chan and claimed the #2 spot in terms of current H!P members, but the numbers are close. It’s likely we’ll see Airi maintain #2 going into September due to the C-ute single release, but Ai-chan may reclaim that position as MM’s next single release nears and details of the 9th generation auditions are made known. Eri and Momoko are also extremely close. I suspect that Eri will overtake Momoko this month and maintain that position until her graduation. With Mano’s crazy new single coming out in September she’s probably going to give Risako a run for her money – it depends on the announcement regarding the Risako single as well as any new work for either girl.

So… have the graduation and audition announcements helped or hurt Morning Musume’s community membership? Did S/mileage as a group benefit from the new single promotion? Stay tuned!

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Sayumi is once again leaping headfirst into controversy. This is twice in less than two weeks! Think it doesn’t matter? Check this out and you might think again.

Earlier this week Sayumi was a guest on “Himitsu no Arashi-chan” which features the group Arashi. To put this in perspective for those who don’t follow J-music outside of girl idols or who are new to the J-pop scene: these gentlemen were responsible for four of the top five selling singles in Japan last year. Out of the 30 singles they’ve released, 26 have reached #1 on the weekly charts. In fact, they’ve never been lower than a weekly #1 since 2004.

So Sayumi appeared on a segment of this show to evaluate the guys’ style and apparently she was none too kind to one of the boys in particular, Matsumoto Jun. As I write this, her post about the show on her blog has 6,763 replies. Some of them are from her fans, some of them are from angry Arashi fans, and I’m sure some of them are from others who got caught in the crossfire because of news buzz and wanted to weigh in.

So now let’s look at Mixi again. As I write this Sayumi has a grand total of 3160 followers on her largest Mixi community. What does this mean?

  • It means that since I last posted about Sayumi eleven days ago she’s gained another 175 followers.
  • It means that since June 3rd Sayumi’s following has grown by 392 people. For the first five months of the year her following grew by 383 people. These two weeks have been bigger for her than the entire year leading up to this point.
  • She was already one of the fastest rising H!P members in terms of Mixi popularity – now she is the hands-down fastest. While it’s unlikely that she’s going to continue to be the center of a drama whirlwind, at the rate she is going she could realistically overtake Ai-chan in the next few months in terms of total following on Mixi.

Sayumi is winning fans and gaining serious exposure. Let’s hope that her notoriety leads to increased attention for Morning Musume as a whole!

As many fans are aware, Sayumi recently experienced some backlash on her blog because she said that she liked AKB48. Out of curiosity, I decided to see if her statement and the resulting flip-out on the part of an indeterminate number of wota had dramatically affected her Mixi following – and wow, was I surprised!

I took my initial numbers for this month on June 3rd. Today, on June 7th:

Sayumi's mixi community

Welcome to Sayumiland, Population... 2985!

Sayumi has made no secret of her enjoyment of Idoling!!!, so the response to her comment regarding AKB48 was a bit more violent than expected. But since many AKB members have spoken of their admiration for Morning Musume, perhaps all that fans caught between the two groups were waiting for was a sign of respect from Musume’s side before they felt comfortable showing their support. And with that, her community grew over 200 members – from 2768 to 2985 – in less than a week.

Will this increased show of support for Sayu translate to increased sales for Seishun Collection this week? Only time will tell!

Here are the current Mixi community sizes for the H!P Eggs as of June 4, as well as their growth since January of this year:

Performer Name Members on January 10 Members on June 04 Change
Kikkawa Yuu 521 539 18
Kitahara Sayaka 325 329 4
Sengoku Minami 284 277 -7
Miyamoto Karin 143 188 45
Maeda Irori 153 161 8
Saho Akari 131 158 27
Komine Momoka 137 155 18
Mori Saki 152 149 -3
Okai Asuna 119 118 -1
Sekine Azusa 112 115 3
Fukumura Mizuki 75 111 36
Furukawa Konatsu 56 89 33
Tanabe Nanami 21 89 68
Takeuchi Akari 66 77 11
Arai Manami 69 66 -3
Satou Ayano 44 57 13
Sainen Mia 56 55 -1
Hirano Tomomi 35 47 12
Kudou Haruka x 43 43
Kaneko Rie 36 40 4
Katsuta Rina 22 40 18
Takagi Sayuki 28 39 11
Nagasawa Wakana x 39 39
Aoki Erina 36 34 -2
Tanaka Anri 31 30 -1
Sezaki Azusa 17 13 -4
Kizawa Runa x 6 6

Wondering what the eggs have been up to this year?

  • Tanabe Nanami was the winner of the audition for Amulet Dia. She enjoyed the publicity of winning the contest and appearing on “Shugo Chara Party” and in related singles and albums. She is perhaps the most fortunate of the Shin Shugo Chara Egg girls in that she landed another regular spot on the show “We Can☆” which picked up right after “Shugo Chara Party” ended. She will also be in September’s Gekiharo play.

  • Miyamoto Karin will also be in the fall Gekiharo play. Her participation in Shin Minimoni has brought her a fair bit of attention. She participated in the play “Kaibutsu no Kodomo” with Kitahara Sayaka and appeared in the movie “Hoshisuna no Shima no Chiisana Tenshi ~Mermaid Smile~”. Finally, she appeared on TV this April along with Yaguchi Mari and her fellow Egg Takagi Sayuki.

  • Takeuchi Akari, another Shin Minimoni girl, has received a push this spring as well. She was also in the “Mermaid Smile” movie (Kaneko Rie also appeared), and she participated as a backdancer for Mano Erina’s “Haru no Arashi”.

  • Saho Akari continued with Shin Shugo Chara Egg after the rest of her cohort was assigned to S/mileage. She backdanced for Mano Erina in both “Haru no Arashi” and “Onegai Dakara” and appeared in “Mermaid Smile”.

  • Kikkawa Yuu has appeared in two plays this year: “Tiger Breathing” (with Sengoku Minami) and Cat-eyes Club 2. She and Kitahara Sayaka appeared in the film “Kaidan Shin Mimibukuro Kaiki”.

  • Sato Ayano backdanced for “Onegai Dakara” and will appear in C-ute’s musical later this year along with Furukawa Konatsu.

  • Mori Saki will appear in Morning Musume’s stage play “Fashionable.”

  • Fukumura Mizuki participated in Shin Shugo Chara Egg and backdanced for Mano Erina in “Haru no Arashi.”

  • Maeda Irori participated in Shin Shugo Chara Egg.

  • Sekine Azusa was a backdancer for Manoeri’s “Haru no Arashi.”

  • Komine Momoka was a backdancer for “Onegai Dakara.”

  • In addition to her play, Sengoku Minami participated in the Ongaku Gatas live and will appear in the play “Tsubuyaku Girl’s” (sic) this September.

We’ve been somewhat spoiled recently with the rate at which Eggs have debuted, but I can’t help but wonder who will be next on the list. Nanami and Karin have enjoyed exceptional attention lately but are quite young to debut. On the other end of the spectrum, several of the older girls are working against time, and may even risk losing fans out of frustration at their careers stagnating (Kikkawa and Sengoku come to mind.) Who do you think will be next to officially “hatch”?

Since it’s been a while since I’ve done this, I decided to do things a little differently this time. In this set of rankings you will see the current number of members of each girl’s largest Mixi community as of June 3rd as well as the community sizes as they were back on January 10th so you can see how their communities have changed over the past several months.

Morning Musume

Performer Name Members – January 10 Members – June 3 Change
Takahashi Ai 3189 3482 293
Niigaki Risa 1401 1518 117
Michishige Sayumi 2385 2768 383
Kamei Eri 2417 2708 291
Tanaka Reina 3427 3901 474
Mitsui Aika 692 709 17
Junjun (Li Chun) 539 592 53
Linlin (Qian Lin) 283 369 86

Berryz Koubou

Performer Name Members – January 10 Members – June 3 Change
Shimizu Saki 817 909 92
Tsugunaga Momoko 2713 2945 232
Sudou Maasa 794 871 77
Tokunaga Chinami 722 738 16
Kumai Yurina 1100 1171 71
Natsuyaki Miyabi 1967 2058 91
Sugaya Risako 2240 2425 185

C-ute

Performer Name Members – January 10 Members – June 3 Change
Yajima Maimi 1829 1943 114
Nakajima Saki 1209 1317 108
Suzuki Airi 3370 3612 242
Okai Chisato 876 914 38
Hagiwara Mai 1180 1218 38

Mano Erina

Performer Name Members – January 10 Members – June 3 Change
Mano Erina 1969 2349 380

S/mileage

Performer Name Members – January 10 Members – June 3 Change
Wada Ayaka 488 814 326
Maeda Yuuka 899 1300 401
Fukuda Kanon 722 998 276
Ogawa Saki 397 648 251

With the raw numbers out of the way, let’s look at the ten current H!P members with the largest Mixi communities.

Top Ten (Community Size)

Performer Name Members – June 3
Tanaka Reina 3901
Suzuki Airi 3612
Takahashi Ai 3482
Tsugunaga Momoko 2945
Michishige Sayumi 2768
Kamei Eri 2708
Sugaya Risako 2425
Mano Erina 2349
Natsuyaki Miyabi 2058
Yajima Maimi 1943

No real surprises here. The separation between the top 10 and the rest of the pack is pretty sizable, with Niigaki the closest at 1518. It would be challenging for other members to catch up to this group, as their communities would have to grow much more quickly. The competition within this group is a bit tighter. Eri, Sayumi, and Momoko are likely to swap positions back and forth over the next several months depending on who gets what kind of publicity and when. Likewise, Mano and Risako are in a position to be quite competitive with each other.

Growth over time is another great indicator of who is on the rise. Let’s see who the members are with the fastest-growing communities:

Top Ten (Community Growth)

Performer Name Growth January-June 2010
Tanaka Reina 474
Maeda Yuuka 401
Michishige Sayumi 383
Mano Erina 380
Wada Ayaka 326
Takahashi Ai 293
Kamei Eri 291
Fukuda Kanon 276
Ogawa Saki 251
Suzuki Airi 242

Reina has gotten a veritable flood of publicity this first half of the year. Between her playfully perverted anime, her new music TV show, and both of her blogs, she is H!P’s ambassador to a demographic H!P doesn’t often address.

The four members of S/mileage have gotten a similar amount of publicity. They seem to be following in Koharu’s footsteps in a few different ways. Kanon, Yuuka, and Dawa have the opportunity to record music, sing, and appear in live action segments as their characters from Lilpri, while Sakitty gets to appear on Oha Sta as herself each day. In addition, they have their radio show, blogs, and Twitters, so their fans have the opportunity to interact with them pretty much all the time. If the video for Yume Miru Fifteen had been a little more engaging these numbers could have been even higher.

Sayumi got a huge push from her variety appearances earlier in the year. It seems like it slowed down for a little while, but she made up for the lull with her blog and now the appearances have picked up again. She’s got a regular show, she’s back on London Hearts again, and she’s all over a magazine or two – the sky’s the limit as long as she takes care of herself!

Mano’s numbers may seem surprising to many overseas fans, as her single sales are slowly dipping – but she’s proving to be a versatile actress, which provides H!P with income by other means. Have you watched any of “Death Game Park”? Somehow she’s both gorgeous and convincing as a tough survival horror heroine. The series has a crossover audience with the tokusatsu crowd, as many popular former Kamen Rider and Super Sentai actors appear. “Kai-ki”, which will premiere at MAX next month, will be another opportunity for her to show her acting chops. Juxtapose that with her super-cute Hello Kitty work and you’ll see why her popularity continues to climb.

This leaves me with Ai, Eri, and Airi. (Ai + Eri = Aieri = Airi? Nah.) Ai got a regular radio spot back recently while Eri regularly enjoys Gaki*Kame and all of C-ute apparently works on FIVE STARS. There are a few other girls whose communities also grew quite a bit this time period (Momoko and Risako most notably). None of them gets a super amount of television publicity, though. I think that for all of these girls, part of the explanation for their community growth is that when you are a fan of an H!P group in Japan, you’re expected to have and support one favorite, and all of these girls are natural choices for a new fan. They are all attractive or cute, none of them has a really abrasive personality, and they often (or almost always, in some cases) have major parts in singles in their respective groups.

One “honorable mention” that I’d like to point out is that Linlin’s community grew about 30% over these past several months. It’s still not huge, but she’s proportionally getting a ton more attention than she used to, and it’s also reported that she’s doing very well in H!P store merchandise sales.

It does help to keep in mind that these rankings are only one measure of popularity. Not everyone who uses Facebook cares to join a community for their favorite band, let alone bands they listen to, and Mixi is similar in that respect. Likewise, not everyone uses Mixi. It is, however, a helpful tool to see what is happening to members’ popularity, especially when you look at trends.

The most disappointing part for me was to see some of my favorite members stagnating. Chisato and Aika have both really come into their own these past few months and no one has noticed. Why? Probably because they don’t get to appear anywhere. The same goes for Maimai, as well as Chinami and several others. Who decided that “Athena & Robikerottsu” and “Kira Pika” were going to be the big breakout experiences for some of these girls? Honestly! None of them are the stars of their groups but I’m sure their fanbases would grow and develop like Dawa’s and Sakitty’s have if they were given similar opportunities. The field is choked with competition right now, though – including competition from Eggs and NGP girls as well as other rival groups – so I guess the best thing to do is keep supporting these girls and be patient, because their time in the sun will come.

The following are the Mixi community size statistics for currently active H!P members as of March 9, 2010:

Morning Musume

Performer Name # of Members Change from Feb 9
Takahashi Ai 3345 89
Niigaki Risa 1450 29
Michishige Sayumi 2555 78
Kamei Eri 2572 -74
Tanaka Reina 3617 105
Mitsui Aika 719 23
Junjun (Li Chun) 576 19
Linlin (Qian Lin) 323 25

 

Berryz Koubou

Performer Name # of Members Change from Feb 9
Shimizu Saki 844 18
Tsugunaga Momoko 2840 62
Sudou Maasa 826 12
Tokunaga Chinami 730 2
Kumai Yurina 1127 10
Natsuyaki Miyabi 2013 16
Sugaya Risako 2319 27

 

C-ute

Performer Name # of Members Change from Feb 9
Yajima Maimi 1870 2
Nakajima Saki 1268 14
Suzuki Airi 3475 46
Okai Chisato 895 0
Hagiwara Mai 1185 -1

 

Mano Erina

Performer Name # of Members Change from Feb 9
Mano Erina 2146 89

 

S/mileage

Performer Name # of Members Change from Feb 9
Wada Ayaka 585 28
Maeda Yuuka 1028 58
Fukuda Kanon 816 29
Ogawa Saki 476 37

 

S/mileage’s drastic growth has slowed but is still going strong.  The hachiki members of Morning Musume have seen higher growth than usual.  Not sure what happened with Kamei – perhaps it has to do with her role on Jewel Pet which I believe is coming to an end. C-ute’s numbers aren’t terrifically surprising given the line distribution on SHOCKING 5 but Nakky seems to be getting some help from either G4 or the announcement that she’ll be in Musume’s summer play.  I wonder if Chisato or Maimai would do as well with the same publicity?

Here are the membership and monthly growth statistics for the largest Mixi communities for the Hello! Project Eggs as of February 12, 2010.

Hello! Project Eggs

Performer Name # of Members Change from January 10
Kikkawa Yuu 527 6
Kitahara Sayaka 326 1
Sengoku Minami 279 -5
Maeda Irori 155 2
Miyamoto Karin 155 12
Mori Saki 150 -2
Saho Akari 143 12
Komine Momoka 140 3
Okai Asuna 120 1
Sekine Azusa 116 4
Furukawa Konatsu 85 29
Fukumura Mizuki 80 5
Sawada Yuri 73 0
Arai Manami 71 2
Takeuchi Akari 65 -1
Sainen Mia 57 1
Satou Ayano 45 1
Aoki Erina 37 1
Tanabe Nanami 37 16
Kaneko Rie 36 0
Hirano Tomomi 35 0
Tanaka Anri 35 4
Takagi Sayuki 33 5
Katsuta Rina 28 6
Sezaki Azusa 16 -1

 

Observations: I compared this list to the roster of the upcoming Norimen Live. Predictably, the top three Eggs on this list are scheduled to make an appearance, but the roster also draws girls from about the halfway point on the list in terms of popularity. Sayaka, Mia, and Saho Akari already have solos announced for the concert. I’m really curious to see where their communities stand at this point next month!  Saho and Miyamoto Karin seem to have benefited from the Shuffle Date concerts, and newcomer Tanabe Nanami continues to gain fans at a steady clip.

Look for TNX later today!