It was announced on the Hello Project website today that as of March 31st, 2009, all of the members of Elder Club will be leaving Hello! Project.
Mass graduation or mass firings? You make the call.
The exact members graduating are as follows:
Morning Musume OG:
Satoda Mai (Country Musume)
Saito Hitomi (Melon Kinenbi)
Murata Megumi (Melon Kinenbi)
Ohtani Masae (Melon Kinenbi)
Shibata Ayumi (Melon Kinenbi)
Ongaku Gatas (presumably, Korenaga Miki, Noto Arisa, Sengoku Minami, Sawada Yuri)
Not much else to say but... wow.
I have some important news to share.
All members of H!P Elder Club, namely Morning Musume OG (Nakazawa Yuuko, Iida Kaori, Abe Natsumi, Yasuda Kei, Yaguchi Mari, Ishikawa Rika, Yoshizawa Hitomi, Tsuji Nozomi, Konno Asami, Ogawa Makoto, Fujimoto Miki), Inaba Atsuko, Satoda Mai (Country Musume), Melon Kinenbi, Maeda Yuki, Matsuura Aya, Miyoshi Erika, Okada Yui and Ongaku Gatas, will be graduating from Hello!Project on 31.3.2009.
Most of these girls have already graduated from Morning Musume and other groups.
They have been appearing on stage since they were teenagers.
After the 10th year anniversary has passed, they have realized that it is necessary to smash through the stereotypes that have been built up for them by now, and find courage to begin a new path towards their future careers.
Personally, I have big expectations for their future efforts, and I would like to announce my support for these girls.
I also hope you will keep supporting both current Hello!Project members and the members who are going to graduate.
Hello!project producer Tsunku
Nakazawa Yuuko's comment
Effective from 31.3.2009, H!P Elder Club members will be graduating from Hello!Project.
Since my graduation from Morning Musume in 2001, I have been in charge of the leader position in H!P.
H!P has been a place where we have been putting all out efforts into creating and expressing songs and performances.
Now it is time for every member to leave this place and take a new step forward, but we will definitely keep putting all our efforts to bring you dreams and excitement.
As for the future of H!P, our juniors (kouhai) will take over and carry on that spirit. Please give them even bigger support.