Hello! Project – A breeding ground for scandal.

Please note, I do not claim to have researched these incidents of scandal myself, I am not a member of the paparazzi and was 10 at the time of the first recorded scandal here, I spoke no Japanese and knew nothing of H!P. These scandals come from researching other websites, user contributed information and other such sources. However, these are all of my own words, I would never simply copy & paste. I feel the need to post this notice as one forum user on an undisclosed forum mentioned that I “…claim to have researched these all myself.” Which of course, I didn’t.

Also, it is worth noting that this article covers scandal up until February 8th 2007, and thus cannot reflect any new scandal since then.

It’s extremely easy for a scandal to arise in the world of Jpop, especially in the polished and perfected world of Hello! Project. With all of Hello! Project’s members shaped and moulded into sparkling representations of squeaky clean perfection a mere slip up becomes big news in the press and can often cost a Hello! Project idol their career.

Let us begin our voyage through the darker days of some of our favourite H!P idols in the year 2000;

Early 2000: Abe Natsumi insults Goto Maki on a television show, calling her baka. Some say this is due to Natsumi’s initial jealousy of the new member Goto Maki, who brought Morning Musume great success. (Reader contributed: kk (3/4/07))

August 2000: Abe Natsumi had always been a shining example of Jpop goodness. She was an extremely popular member of Morning Musume and always on her best behaviour, that was until she decided she would have a two day sleepover at dorama actor Oshio Manabu’s house. Her reason, she was playing playstation. A likely story, I’m sure. Luckily for Natsumi she wasn’t heavily punished for this and her innocent excuse was rather cute, in a way.

September 2000: Only two months later and Hello! Project has another black mark on it’s sparkling line up of idols, this time in the form of poor Kago Ai. It was revealed by the Japanese press that her biological father was arrested for being in possession of drugs. Admittedly this is nothing to do with Ai, but nonetheless her image as a jovial character had been slightly tarnished by her criminal parentage.

November 2000: Two months again! This time Ishikawa Rika is causing a stir, however it again it isn’t her fault. She was wiretapped and the Japanese press had a field day pondering over who done it. It was later put forth the idea that H!P management had done it themselves just to create publicity.

January 2001: I see a pattern forming. This time a naughty more senior Hello! Project member was caught extremely drunk and lying face down in the lap of former JUDY & MARY star, Takuya’s crotch. Need we see more, bad Iida Kaori!

August 2001: A relatively long time without scandal. I’m sure the wotas were happy. During the Morning Musume 5th generation auditions it is revealed in the press that an advert featuring Niigaki Risa (an auctioneer) was aired. This is actually a breech of the rules of the audition process (being associated with another talent or acting agency). However Niigaki got through.

Also in August 2001, Goto Maki’s (who we’ll get to soon) younger brother Goto Yuuki stops turning up for work and is put on hiatus. He reportedly begs to be allowed to perform again and so gets the opportunity to, but spoils it by going to cadbury bars and is later fired! Tut-tut Yuuki! Poor Goto had to deal with having a playboy brother.

January 2002: Another year, another scandal. A photo of someone who either is or someone who looks remarkably like Yaguchi Mari emerges passionately kissing an attractive man is circulated.

Also, Sheki-Dol is disbanded due to one member needing continual medical care. Mami had gone and got her self pregnant in reality. Can Jpop stars even do that?

October 2002: Photographs of Fujimoto Miki before her debut are circulated. She is seen to be both drinking and smoking underage. Surprisingly, this didn’t damage her career in the slightest and she is now a major player in Hello! Project.

February 2003: It is revealed that Goto Maki had double eyelid surgery (or some sort of permanent make-up thing) and that prior to Morning Musume Yoshizawa Hitomi had a boyfriend.

April 2003: Time for some more familial humiliation. Abe Natsumi’s younger sister Asami in school uniform smoking is circulated in photographic form. Oops!

April 2004: A whole year later! Audio footage of Ishikawa Rika making fun of some of her more mature fans is circulated.

November 2004: Natsumi Abe makes a slip up, again! This time it is revealed that some of her poetry and essays come not so much from her heart, but from other peoples. She plagiarized.

December 2004: Matsuura Aya’s voice is heard shouting at a member of staff in a not so friendly tone.

January 2005: Supposedly Kago Ai and ORANGE RANGE member Ryo were having a relationship. It is also said she had an abortion, though this is only hear-say as is most scandal.

March 2005: Matsuura Aya is seen entering a certain w-inds member’s house carrying lots of toilet paper, suspicious.

April 2005: Yaguchi Mari and Oguri Shun’s relationship is somehow made public, she quits Morning Musume but not Hello! Project. Though her role nowadays is diminished greatly. She no longer is in a relationship with Oguri either.

February 2006: A major scandal, innocent little Kago Ai once again. She’s caught smoking underage and as of February 8th 2007 is still indefinitely suspended from Hello! Project.

September 2006: Tsuji Nozomi is heard from her dressing room complaining that a W song was cancelled due to Kago Ai’s suspension.

October 2006: Murukami Megumi is seen linked arms with a boy. She leaves to continue full time education. In other words, she was fired.

November 2006: Ogawa Makoto, Tsuji Nozomi & Ishikawa Rika are supposdly heard drunk from their dressing rooms. I’m not sure it’s possible my source is right here, Makoto had left by this time. Ah well, I’ll leave it in until I find any correction.

And that’s the major H!P scandal up until now.