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Morning Musume (モーニング娘。), currently known as Morning Musume '18 (モーニング娘。'18), is a Japanese all female group and the core group under the more expansive Hello! Project (H!P for short). Formed in 1997 when the producer of the band, Tsunku, challenged the 5 runner-ups of a TV competition, where they competed to become the lead singer of Sharan Q, to sell 50,000 copies of their demo single "Ai no Tane" in 5 days. They were successful and the reward was to be fully produced as their own act by producer Tsunku.

In a year, their popularity had surpassed the winner of the original competition (Michiyo Heike); in three they had surpassed the popularity of Sharan Q, who had broken up to become full time producers. The reach of MM and H!P extends to music, TV, radio, film, modeling, commercials, their own PS2 and GBA games, as well as their own indoor futsal and kickball teams, though their popularity has been waning in recent years. They also quickly became, and still remain, one of Japan's top all girl groups with a number of hit records and albums. They have sold over 17,746,446 copies in Japan alone. (dated figure)

The members of Morning Musume change often. Every year or two, auditions are held to add new members. Morning Musume's current line-up has 11 members, none of which are the original five or the three generations that followed. Fukumura Mizuki (譜久村聖) is the current leader of Morning Musume.

Morning Musume Generations (bolded names are part of the current line-up):

First Generation (1997):
Yuko Nakazawa (中澤裕子)
Aya Ishiguro (石黒彩)
Kaori Iida (飯田圭織)
Natsumi Abe (安倍なつみ)
Asuka Fukuda (福田明日香)

Second Generation (1998):
Kei Yasuda (保田圭)
Mari Yaguchi (矢口真里)
Sayaka Ichii (市井紗耶香)

Third Generation (1999):
Maki Goto (後藤真希)

Fourth Generation (2000):
Rika Ishikawa (石川梨華)
Hitomi Yoshizawa (吉澤ひとみ)
Nozomi Tsuji (辻希美)
Ai Kago (加護亜依)

Fifth Generation (2001):
Ai Takahashi (高橋愛)
Asami Konno (紺野あさ美)
Makoto Ogawa (小川麻琴)
Risa Niigaki (新垣里沙)

Sixth Generation (2003):
Miki Fujimoto (藤本美貴)
Eri Kamei (亀井絵里)
Sayumi Michishige (道重さゆみ)
Reina Tanaka (田中れいな)

Seventh Generation (2005):
Koharu Kusumi (久住小春)

Eighth Generation (2006-2007):
Aika Mitsui (光井愛佳)
JunJun (ジュンジュン)
LinLin (リンリン)

Ninth Generation (2011):
Mizuki Fukumura (譜久村聖) (current leader)
Erina Ikuta (生田衣梨奈)
Riho Sayashi (鞘師里保)
Kanon Suzuki (鈴木香音)

Tenth Generation (2011):
Haruna Iikubo (飯窪春菜)
Ayumi Ishida (石田亜佑美)
Masaki Sato (佐藤優樹)
Haruka Kudo (工藤遥)

Eleventh Generation (2012):
Sakura Oda (小田さくら)

Twelfth Generation (2014):
Haruna Ogata (尾形春水)
Miki Nonaka (野中美希)
Maria Makino (牧野真莉愛)
Akane Haga (羽賀朱音)

Thirteenth Generation (2016):
Kaede Kaga (加賀楓)
Reina Yokoyama (横山玲奈)

Fourteenth Generation (2017) :
Morito Chisaki (森戸知沙希)

As the members grow and become better singers or feel that Morning Musume no longer suits their careers, they "graduate" to become solo artists. Some H!P members graduate to leave the idol world and are not part of H!P anymore. As of March 31st, 2009, members of Hello! Project's Elder Club concert unit (also called the older sister group, including former Morning Musume members ("OG"), Aya Matsuura, Melon Kinenbi, Mai Satoda (Country Musume), Atsuko Inaba and Yuki Maeda) are not a part of Hello! Project anymore but remain under UFA management. Morning Musume, and other H!P acts (Berryz工房, ℃-ute, 真野恵里菜, スマイレージ, 吉川友, Hello! Project Egg, and all sub-units associated with them) continue releasing under the Hello! Project.

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