カントリー娘。 (Country Musume) was a Japanese pop group that was part of Hello! Project. The theme of the group is "country girls from Hokkaido".
Country Musume was formed in 1999 and originally consisted of leader Toda Rinne, Kobayashi Azusa, and Yanagihara Hiromi.
On July 17th, 1999, Hiromi died in a tragic car accident, just days before their first single was released, and Azusa left the group shortly afterwards. Country Musume's second and third singles were just Rinne solo, but in 2000 she was joined by a new member, Kimura Asami.
In April of 2001, Ishikawa Rika from Morning Musume was added and the group became known as Country Musume ni Ishikawa Rika. Early in 2002 they were joined by Satoda Mai. Later that same year, Rinne graduated, and Asami became the new leader.
In the summer of 2003, Saitou Miuna joined Country Musume, and Rika's time in the group was over. She was replaced with two other girls from Morning Musume, Konno Asami and Fujimoto Miki. The group is now called Country Musume ni Konno to Fujimoto.
In 2005, Country Musume performed in the Hello! Project 2005 Winter ~A HAPPY NEW POWER!~ concert tour as a part of Hello! Project Akagumi. Country Musume also toured with v-u-den and Inaba Atsuko.
On November 25, 2006, it was announced that Asami and Miuna would be graduating from Country Musume and Hello! Project together on January 28, 2007, at the final performance of Hello! Project 2007 Winter ~Shuuketsu! 10th Anniversary~. For the second time Country Musume became a one-member unit; Satoda continued performing as Satoda Mai (Country Musume) until the Elder Club graduation on February 1, 2009. The group is now inactive.
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