Melon Kinenbi, the longest-lasting H!P group that has never changed its member lineup is finally disbanding 10 years after their major debut. Their first single, Amai Anata no Aji, was released on February 28, 2000:
They went on to release a total of 18 major singles, 4 albums, and plenty of concert DVDs and photobooks. Their 8th single, Akai Freesia, was their best-selling, making it into Oricon's top 10 sales chart.
(credit to JPHiP)
Just for the heck of it, here's one my personal favorite Melon singles, Kawaii Kare:
After leaving Hello!Project and moving to M-Line, the group moved to more of a rock direction, as heard on their most recent (and final) album, "Melon's Not Dead". Thanks to the four girls of Melon Kinenbi: Hitomi Saitou, Megumi Murata, Masae Ohtani, and Ayumi Shibata for 10 years of great songs. Best of luck in the future!
They've released a statement here, and epifanes' translation is below:
News on the important matter regarding Melon Kinenbi
As always, thank you for supporting Melon Kinenbi.
Today, during the stage of Melon Kinenbi's 10th ANNIVERSARY LIVE '3654 days since birth' which was held at SHIBUYA-AX', the members announced that Melon Kinenbi is going to disband.
Keeping their idol status for 10 years, the members gave their united statement, "We would like to end Melon Kinenbi's activity at this 10-year milestone”, and after numerous discussions and assistance from the staff, it was decided we would be announcing it publicly today.
This March's stage performance, “Melon Kinenbi Story” (12 performances at the Ikebukuro Theater Green, all tickets SOLD OUT) and the final tour in April~May are the group's final activities until official disbanding.
Furthermore, February 21st (Sunday) the Osaka performances which were planned (Nanba HATCH noon performance 15:00 START/night performance 19:00 START) will be held without any changes.
Please keep supporting them until the end.
Comment from members
Thank you, as always, for your warm support!
On February 19th, 2010, we've reached Melon Kinenbi's 10-year anniversary of existence!! The Melon road had both mountains and valleys to cross, but together with our wotamodachi [wotamodachi = wota (fan)+tomodachi (friend)], the staff, and our families who have supported us during good times and bad, we were able to build up a 10-year history. And all that without a member change!!
Before we reached the 10-year point, the four of us talked thoroughly about the future. The result was, “10 years is a good turning point, where we should get new challenges in our real life”, so we firmly decided to disband the group.
We think that there will people who will be shocked, thinking, "Oh no, so it's really happened now..." , but we promise we will keep running in Melon-style until the very end. Everyone! Please keep running with us with all your energy!!