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新垣里沙

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Niigaki Risa (新垣里沙, born October 20, 1988) was a member of a Japanese pop-group, Morning Musume. Niigaki is a 5th Generation member and joined Morning Musume in 2001 with Ai Takahashi, Asami Konno and Makoto Ogawa. Her first appearance was in Morning Musume’s 13th single, Mr.Moonlight ~Ai no BIG BAND~. Morning Musume producer Tsunku chose Risa because she “shined during the final studio recording” for the audition song that all the finalists had to sing

Prior to joining Morning Musume, Niigaki was a finalist out of 1,000 entrants in the “Kiss Girl Audition” to become the new Tomy image girl, held by TV Tokyo’s “Oha Star” program. She appeared in a commercial with the other finalist, Hasegawa Ai, for Tomy Karaoke Machine Kiss-site, but ultimately lost out the Grand Prix prize to Hasegawa (ironically, Niigaki later starred in a commercial for the same company as a part of Morning Musume). Additionally, she did some work as a magazine model since spring 2000. On June 1st 2007, following the resignation of leader Fujimoto Miki, Niigaki was promoted to the position of subleader to new leader, fellow fifth generation member, Takahashi Ai.

Following Nozomi Tsuji’s pregnancy announcement, Niigaki took over the role of Athena in the animation series Robby & Kerobby. In October of 2007, Niigaki was placed in the unit アテナ&ロビケロッツ along with fellow Morning Musume member Aika Mitsui, as well as Saki Nakajima and Chisato Okai of °C-ute.

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