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A Biography of the Japanese Pop Music Girl Group Called "C-ute"

Updated on June 29, 2021
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Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

A Photo of the Japanese girl group C-ute From 2016

This photo of the group comes from their 2016 calendar. Mai Hagiwara is pictured on the far left of the photo & Chisato Okai is pictured on the far right side.
This photo of the group comes from their 2016 calendar. Mai Hagiwara is pictured on the far left of the photo & Chisato Okai is pictured on the far right side. | Source

The Pop Music Group C-ute and the members that sang in it

"C-ute" is another one of those Japanese pop music groups that is part of Hello! Project. If you enjoy listening to groups such as Morning Musume, AKB48, and Berryz Kobo, then you will enjoy the music of this group as well. One interesting thing to note is that the hyphen in the group’s name has no special meaning. The Japanese pronunciation for the group’s name is “kyuto.” They have combined CD and DVD sales of over 1 million copies just in Japan. So who really are these girls and what has this group done to contribute to popular culture?

Lineup of C-ute as it was:

Maimi Yajima

Saki Nakajima

Airi Suzuki

Chisato Okai

Mai Hagiwara

Origin of the group now known as C-ute (2002-2004)

The formation of the group actually goes back to as early as 2002 when all of the girls were first chosen as part of an audition for the unit called Hello! Project Kids. Eventual members Airi Suzuki and Mai Hagiwara were chosen to be part of the group called 4KIDS. In 2003, Suzuki was chosen to be part of the unit called Aa! Erika Umeda, Maimi Yajima and Megumi Murakami were chosen to be part of the unit called ZYX. Both of these groups stopped their activities after a short time when half of the girls that were part of Hello! Project Kids were chosen to form Berryz Kobo in January 2004. The rest of the girls that were passed over eventually formed the group that is now known as C-ute. For those of you that don't remember, Berryz Kobo is the group that had members such as Momoko Tsugunaga and Saki Shimizu.

Early years of the group (2005-2008)

The formation of the group was officially announced in June 2005. Kanna Arihara was added to the group in January 2006 during the Hello! Project 2006 Winter Tour. However, member Megumi Murakami left the group suddenly and no graduation ceremony was held for her. On February 21, 2007, the group’s first major single called Sakura Chirari was released and was an immediate success. It reached as high as the 5th position on the Oricon music charts and this was not even accomplished by Morning Musume. This early success by C-ute was historic in the sense that they became the youngest group to rank in the top ten. At that time, the average age of the group was 13. On December 30, 2006, the group won an award for Best New Artist at the Japan Record Awards. Their producer TSUNKU (also the producer for Morning Musume) got the award and it was shown that the girls were crying in their dressing room! On December 31, 2007, C-ute was chosen to be at the 58th annual Kohaku Uta Gassen or red and white singing contest as a special guest with Berryz Kobo and Morning Musume. Mai Hagiwara became the youngest person to take part in this event, thus breaking Ai Kago’s record at the time. Ai Kago would eventually form a group of her own called Girls Beat!!! C-ute would be nominated for the Grand Prix Award for their single “Edo no Temari Uta 2” but they would lose to the group called EXILE and they would have to settle for a Gold Award.

Another few photos of the group C-ute

Chisato Okai, one of my favorite members of the group is at the center. Next to her is Mai Hagiwara.
Chisato Okai, one of my favorite members of the group is at the center. Next to her is Mai Hagiwara.
An awesome photo of the group! My favorite member Chisato Okai is at the far left.
An awesome photo of the group! My favorite member Chisato Okai is at the far left.

C-ute: Their Career From 2009-2013

2009 would be a year of change for the group. Kanna Arihara would leave the group and Hello! Project. Erika Umeda would also leave the group on October 25, 2009 in order to pursue a fashion modeling career. She would be the group’s first member to have a graduation ceremony. C-ute’s 10th single called “EVERYDAY Zekkouchou!!” in September 2009. This was also Erika Umeda’s last single as a member of C-ute. The single would reach #1 on the musical charts and this was the first time that the group would reach the number 1 ranking. It is the highest ranking single for the group overall. On January 6, 2010, the group’s 11th single SHOCK! Was released. This one was another success, reaching #1 for the daily musical charts and #5 for the week. It sold 18,665 copies. On February 24, 2010, the album called Shocking 5 was released. Member Saki Nakajima would star in the Morning Musume stage play called Fashionable. The rest of the year would see the group release one single after another releasing Aitai Lonely Christmas on December 1, 2010. On February 23, 2011, they released their 15th single called “Kiss Me Aishiteru.” On March 6, 2011, the group opened their official Facebook page. Their 6th album called Chou Wonderful 6 was released on April 6, 2011. On May 25, 2011, C-ute released their 16th single called “Momoiro Sparkling.” Berryz Kobo and C-ute starred in a play called “Jikuu no Tobira” or Door of Time. The two groups would then collaborate and have a fall concert tour. On February 8, 2012, C-ute would release their 7th album called “Dainana Shou Utsukushikutte Gomen Ne.” They followed that up with the release of their 18th single called “Kimi wa Jitensha Watashi wa Densha De Kitaku.” It sold 40,000 copies in the first week and reached #3 on the Oricon Weekly Singles Chart. This is the group’s highest selling single so far. On June 30, 2012, C-ute held a concert at the Yokosuka Arts Theater which was broadcast live on the group’s YouTube channel. On February 6, 2013, the group’s 20th single called “Kono Machi” was released. From March 14 through the 24th of 2013, C-ute would star in a stage play called Sakura no Hanataba. In July of that year, the group had a concert in Paris, France. On June 29, 2013, the group got a certification from the Japan Anniversary Council that they will have a special day in their honor called C-ute’s Day. It would be a day that would be celebrated nationwide.

"The Middle Management"

C-ute (2014-present)

On March 5, 2014, the group would release their 24th major single called Love Take It All. They would attend the 15h Japan Expo in Paris with Berryz Kobo as guests of honor. On November 20, 2014, the group performed with other artists at the 35th anniversary of Tower Records! To date, the group has released 27 singles with the last three being The Power/Kanashiki Heaven, I Miss You, and The Middle Management. They have also released 7 studio albums. Their latest album called Cmaj9 was released on December 23, 2015.

The Group Gets Involved in Controversy

The group has not been free of controversy however. After Kanna Arihara left the group saying that she wanted to have a life as a normal girl. But there was speculation that she may have been forced to retire by her agency after BUBKA Magazine published a story about her alleged romance with Ryosuke Hashimoto. Members of groups such as C-ute, AKB48, Morning Musume and others have a no-dating policy in which the girls are not allowed to have boyfriends. It is also speculated that Arihara would date Hashimoto even after all the press came out about her activities. In spite of these alleged dating scandals, C-ute is still active and a major contributor to Japan’s popular pop music scene.

"I Miss You" Piano Version

The End of the Group C-ute

The group announced that they would disband after a concert at the Saitama Super Arena in June 2017. However, the members will still be involved musically. They will be working on solo activities with the agency Up-Front Group (formerly Up-Front). The group had been thinking about their future after the hiatus of Berryz Kobo was finalized in 2015.

© 2016 Ara Vahanian


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