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All About the Japanese Pop Music Group Berryz Kobo Also Known as Berry’s Workshop

Updated on July 13, 2020
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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 group Berryz Kobo sometimes spelled as Berryz Koubou. Momoko Tsugunaga who retired from the entertainment industry is on the far right of the picture.
A photo of the group Berryz Kobo sometimes spelled as Berryz Koubou. Momoko Tsugunaga who retired from the entertainment industry is on the far right of the picture. | Source

About Berryz Kobo and Their Last Lineup of Members

Of all the girl groups in Japan that were in the genre of pop music, there is one group now that may be largely forgotten because they have disbanded as of 2015. That group is Berryz Koubou or Berryz Kobo. The two names for this group are used interchangeably so you can use either name when referring to this girl group. As of the last lineup prior to their disbandment they had the following members or girls:

  • Saki Shimizu (served as the group’s captain)
  • Momoko Tsugunaga (also was a member of the group Country Girls)
  • Yurina Kumai
  • Chinami Tokunaga
  • Risako Sugaya
  • Miyabi Natsuyaki
  • Massa Sudo

Beginnings of Berryz Kobo and Instant Success

If we want to officially refer to the official beginning of this girl group for the purposes of this article we will use 2004 as the group’s first official year of existence. The idea for the group Berryz Kobo was announced back in January 2004 during what is known as a Hello! Project Club Event. In 2004 alone, this group released five singles including their debut single called I Can’t Live Without You. As always, attempts will be made to list the titles of singles and albums in English so that readers will have an easier time to follow along. This first single was released on March 3, 2004. On March 30, 2005, Berryz Kobo released their 6th single called Special Generation. However, this was more than just their 6th single. It was an instant success, reaching #4 on the daily Oricon (Japanese music) charts, and #7 on the weekly Oricon charts and it sold 24,449 copies, breaking all previous records that have been set. This is an example of what can happen when a group works together to entertain massive amounts of audiences and works well as a cohesive unit.

Note: We will not address every single detail about the group mainly because it will be too hard for many readers to follow along and of course, Japanese is a very complicated language. The approach for this biography about Berryz Kobo is to pretty much include only the most significant moments in the group’s history as well as analysis of some of their best singles.

One of the Group's Members Graduates

It would be on August 3, 2005 that the group would release their 8th single called 21ji Made No Cinderella. This was the last single to feature the participation of member Maiha Ishimura. The official reason given for her graduation was so that she could focus on her studies. There was more to this story, a subject that we will not address here. The one thing that I can say is that this was also the official reason given for the graduation of Asuka Fukuda of Morning Musume. Ishimura would become the youngest graduate of Hello! Project in history after October 2, 2005.

Maasa Sudo the most beautiful member of Berryz Kobo is at the far right. Next ot her is sub-captain Miyabi Natsuyaki.
Maasa Sudo the most beautiful member of Berryz Kobo is at the far right. Next ot her is sub-captain Miyabi Natsuyaki.

2 Major Achievements For Berryz Kobo In 2007

It would be in February 2007 that Berryz Kobo would make the news headlines and for a very special and positive reason! It was announced that the group would be holding a concert at the Saitama Super Arena. The tickets for these two performances were sold out almost two months before the LIVE performances, totaling 20,000 seats! This group became the first group to perform in this venue in which the average age of the members was not greater than 14 years. In so doing, they beat the average age of the Morning Musume members whose average age was 16.3 years old. Extra seating for the concerts was made available.

In addition to this major achievement, Berryz Kobo performed at the 58th Annual Red and White Team Singing Contest as it is known in English. They were at this event as part of a special group with Morning Musume and C-ute.

"Cha Cha Sing"

A photo of a Chinatown section somewhere in Asia, a symbolic look at Berryz Kobo's single Golden Chinatown.
A photo of a Chinatown section somewhere in Asia, a symbolic look at Berryz Kobo's single Golden Chinatown. | Source

A Brief Look At Berryz Kobo's Overseas Shows from 2009 Through 2014

In June 2009, the group held a mini LIVE concert in South Korea. The reach of this group only expanded when in April 2011 they were in attendance at Sakura Con 2011, an anime convention in Seattle, Washington. There was an audience of 3,500 in attendance at the initial event followed by a question and answer event on April 22nd, 2011 and then two autograph signings on April 22nd and 24th of that year. In July 2012, the group would release their 29th single called Cha Cha Sing which to this day is one of my favorite songs by Berryz Kobo ever. In April 2013, Miyabi Natsuyaki was named as the group’s sub-captain. In May 24th and 25th of that year, the group would perform in Taiwan for the first time. On the 24th of May in that year, the group would do what is called Berryz Kobo Worldwide Handshake Event in Taipei. And on the next day, they performed for fans in the song called The Wall. In sticking to the objective of covering only pretty much the most significant events in the history of Berryz Kobo we will also address when they celebrated their 10th anniversary as a group. This would happen on March 3, 2014 as a special performance followed along with a press conference and a nationwide campaign! On April 15, 2014, it also became public that Berryz Kobo was invited to the 15th Japan Expo in Paris, France as guests of honor along with Morning Musume.

Berryz Kobo Full Albums List

Year Released
Album Title
 
2004
1st Super Berryz
 
2005
A Record of the 2nd Growing Season
 
2007
4th So and So Index of Love
 
2008
5(FIVE)
 
2010
6th War Cry
 
2011
7 Berryz Times
 
2012
Love's Album 8
 
2013
Berryz Mansion 9th Floor
 

Berryz Kobo Has Disbanded and Here Is Why

It must also be mentioned that the group had declared that they were going on what is called an indefinite hiatus. I would say that they have pretty much disbanded since 2015 as no new material has been released by the group since. So the situation is that Berryz Kobo is no longer an active J POP group and they are only going to be remembered through their songs. In spite of the announcement made by Saki Shimuzu at a Hello! Project Summer show that the group would be going on that indefinite hiatus that I just mentioned, that has turned out to be a complete cessation of activities by the group. The group had been discussing for over a year to do this in order for the members to work on their own personal goals. On February 3, 2015, Berryz Kobo would perform for the last time outside of Japan in Bangkok, Thailand. In March of that year, the group held their final concert before they would disband. Other than Momoko Tsugunaga, the other members graduated from Hello! Project, thus putting an end to the career of one of the most successful J POP groups of its time.

© 2020 Ara Vahanian

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