Also known as
Kan Musume, Kan Musu, Country Musume ni Rika Ishikawa, Country Musume ni Konno to Fujimoto
Country Musume (カントリー娘。) was an all-female J-pop group within Hello! Project.
- Kobayashi Azusa (小林梓; Leader) (Left: July 31, 1999)
- Yanagihara Hiromi (柳原尋美) (Died: July 17, 1999)
- Toda Rinne (戸田鈴音; Leader)
- Kimura Asami (木村麻美) (joined in 2000)
Country Musume ni Ishikawa Rika Edit
- Toda Rinne (戸田鈴音; Leader) (Graduated in late 2002)
- Kimura Asami (木村麻美)
- Ishikawa Rika (石川梨華)
- Satoda Mai (里田まい) (joined in 2002)
Country Musume ni Konno to Fujimoto Edit
- Kimura Asami (木村麻美; Leader) (Graduated: January 28, 2007)
- Satoda Mai (里田まい)
- Saito Miuna (斉藤美海) (Graduated: January 28, 2007)
- Konno Asami (紺野あさ美) (Left around 2006)
- Fujimoto Miki (藤本美貴) (Left around 2006)
Country Musume was formed in 1999 by Tsunku and Japanese talent and fellow Up-Front Agency artist, Tanaka Yoshitake (Tanaka was the group’s original producer) and was billed as "Country Girls from Hokkaidō". The initial group consisted of members and Hokkaidō natives Toda Rinne, Kobayashi Azusa , and Yanagihara Hiromi.
The 4-week audition cycle was unusual since it didn’t only consist of the traditional voice and dance lessons, but also a physical challenge: consisting of working at the Hanabatake farm in southern Hokkaido. The purpose of the physical challenge was to show how responsible the girls were and how well they work as a team to fit the “country girls from Hokkaido” image, since Hokkaido is seen as the countryside of Japan–and the audition was open to all of Japan, not just Hokkaido. Thus, producer Tanaka called for the physical challenge to see who can live up to a “Hokkaido” image.
Following the trend of their sister group, Morning Musume, Kobayashi, as the oldest member, was given the title as leader of the group. After working on their debut single with plenty of support from other singers such as Moritaka Chisato and Nakazawa Yuko, they were able to successfully record and complete the promotion video.
On July 17th, 1999, Yanagihara was killed in a car accident, just days before their first single was released, at the age of 19. Hiromi’s family was given the decision to whether Country Musume should continue their work and release their single as scheduled, to which they approved. A month later, Azusa decided to leave the group for personal reasons. After a two-month hiatus, Rinne started performing as a solo act, but under the Country Musume name, making two singles.
In summer of 2000, Kimura Asami was added to the group, Rinne became group leader and the duo released one more single.
However, by the end of the year, producer Tanaka decided to give Tsunku the producer’s position of the group, due to his difficulty in finding more members to join Rinne and Asami. The first change that Tsunku made was to “lend” members of Morning Musume into the group.
Their popularity rose when Morning Musume's Ishikawa Rika;who is from Kanagawa and not Hokkaidō; was lent into the group in April 2001; the Country Musume had their first charting single in Japan with the release of "Hajimete no Happy Birthday." The trio under the name "Country Musume ni Rika Ishikawa" released two singles and an album.
Early in 2002, Satoda Mai was recruited into the group although she initially auditioned to be a Morning Musume member. The quartet released one single before Toda (the remaining original member) bid farewell at the end of 2002 to pursue a career within Up-Front Agency as a stage actress. Leaving, Kimura to become the new leader of the group. Afterwards, Kimura, Ishikawa, and Satoda released one more single.
In mid-2003, Country Musume had a major shift in its roster. Saito Miuna, who is from Shizuoka, was recruited into the group. Instead of Ishikawa Rika, the group featured Konno Asami and Fujimoto Miki, both from Morning Musume and are Hokkaidō natives. Under this new formation (named "Country Musume ni Konno to Fujimoto"), the quintet has released three singles as of date.
In 2004, Country Musume (except the featured singers) participated on the fifth edition of Hello! Project's Folk Songs series, where various H!P artists sing covers of Japanese and Western folk songs.
In 2005, Country Musume performed in the Hello! Project 2005 Winter ~A HAPPY NEW POWER!~ concert tour as a part of Hello! Project Akagumi. Country Musume also toured with Biyuuden and Inaba Atsuko in 2005.
On November 25, 2006, it was announced that Asami and Miuna would be graduating from Country Musume and Hello! Project together on January 28, 2007, at the final performance of Hello! Project 2007 Winter ~Shuuketsu! 10th Anniversary~ Hello! Project official site announcement. Since Konno and Fujimoto have also since graduated from Morning Musume, they are no longer “lent” to Country Musume. Thus, Satoda Mai is currently the only member, and continues to work under the Country Musume name. This is the second time that Country Musume consists of only one member.
In 2009, Satoda Mai graduated from Hello! Project and since then the fate of the group is uncertain.
|1||Country Musume Daizenshuu 1 (カントリー娘。大全集 ①)||2001-12-12||Toda, Kimura|
|2||Country Musume Daizenshuu 2 (カントリー娘。大全集 ②)||2006-08-23||Kimura, Satoda, Saito|
|—||Country Musume Mega Best (カントリー娘。 メガベスト)||2008-10-12||—|
|1||"Futari no Hokkaido"(二人の北海道)||1999-07-23||Yanagihara, Kobayashi and Toda|
|4||"Koi ga Suteki na Kisetsu"(恋がステキな季節)||2000-07-31||Toda and Kimura|
|Country Musume ni Ishikawa Rika|
|5||"Hajimete no Happy Birthday"(初めてのハッピーバースディ!)||2001-04-18||Toda, Kimura and Ishikawa|
|6||"Koibito wa Kokoro no Ouendan"(恋人は心の応援団)||2001-10-17|
|7||"Iroppoi Onna ~SEXY BABY~"(色っぽい女 ～SEXY BABY～)||2002-04-17||Toda, Kimura, Satoda and Ishikawa|
|8||"BYE BYE Saigo no Yoru"(BYE BYE 最後の夜)||2002-11-13||Kimura, Satoda and Ishikawa|
|Country Musume ni Konno to Fujimoto|
|9||"Uwaki na Honey Pie" (浮気なハニーパイ)||2003-07-24||Kimura, Satoda, Saito,|
Konno and Fujimoto
|10||"Senpai ~LOVE AGAIN~" (先輩 ～LOVE AGAIN～)||2003-12-05|
|11||"Shining Itoshiki Anata"(シャイニング 愛しき貴方)||2004-08-04|
- 2003-11-17 Country Musume Single V Clips 1(カントリー娘。シングルVクリップス 1)
- Hello! Project official site announcement.Retrieved 2006-11-26.