Niigaki Risa


Niigaki Risa

Also known as

Gaki-san, Omame-chan, MC GAKI


October 20, 1988(age 24)


Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan


Singer, Actress

Years active




Associated acts

Morning Musume, Hello!Project Mobekimasu

Niigaki Risa (新垣 里沙, born October 20, 1988 in Kanagawa, Japan) is a Japanese pop singer under Hello! Project. She is a fifth generation member and the current leader of the Japanese pop group Morning Musume and was a member of the group Tanpopo and the leader of Athena & Robikerottsu, as well as participating in the shuffle units Happy 7, 7AIR, ZYX and H.P. All Stars. She was also a member of the Morning Musume splinter group, Morning Musume Sakura Gumi. She joined Morning Musume in 2001 along with Takahashi Ai, Konno Asami and Ogawa Makoto. Niigaki was the sub-leader of Morning Musume, inheriting the title from the the former leader Takahashi Ai and was sub-leader until Takahashi's graduation. As of 2009, she was the longest serving sub-leader. Niigaki is also the current leader of Hello! Project. On January 2nd, it was announced that Niigaki Risa will graduate from their next Spring Tour 2012 "Ultra Smart".

Biography Edit

2001 Edit

In 2001, Niigaki joined Morning Musume as the fifth generation along with Takahashi Ai, Konno Asami, and Ogawa Makoto. Morning Musume producer Tsunku said he chose Niigaki because she "shined during the final studio recording" for the audition song that all the finalists had to sing. She debuted on the group's 13th single, "Mr. Moonlight ~Ai no Big Band~" alongside her fellow generation members. Her first appearance on a full-length Morning Musume recording was on the album, "4th Ikimasshoi!".

In the summer of that year, she also debuted in a shuffle unit, as part of Happy 7, coincidentally with two other members of her generation (Takahashi and Ogawa). Later in September, all fifth generation members were placed into subgroups. Niigaki was placed into Tanpopo as a member of the third generation, along with Asami Konno. The new grouping only managed to release one single before becoming inactive.

2002 Edit

In 2002, Niigaki participated in a drama alongside her fellow Morning Musume members titled "Angel Hearts". She also participated in another drama, "Ore ga Aitsu de Aitsu ga Ore de". Niigaki recieved a part in the movie "Tokkaekko" alongside other Morning Musume members, released on July 17.

Niigaki continued her career in Morning Musume during 2002 and into 2003. She also participated in the 2002 Happiness Groups as a member of Happy 7. Niigaki also released a joint photobook with the rest of the fifth generation members.

2003 Edit

In a surprise move by Tsunku, Morning Musume was split into two halfs - Morning Musume Otome Gumi and Morning Musume Sakura Gumi - so that the large group could perform in smaller towns that could not hold the larger numbers the full ensemble needed. Niigaki was placed into Sakura Gumi and released two single with the group before the groups merged together and formed Morning Musume once more. Niigaki was included in the 2003 Elemental Shuffle Groups as a member of 7AIR.

Niigaki recieved a part in another movie, "Koinu Dan no Monogatari", released on June 23, 2003.

2004 Edit

Niigaki performed alongside the entire then-ensemble of Hello! Project in a single, large shuffle unit, H.P. All Stars, releasing one single with the unit, "ALL FOR ONE & ONE FOR ALL!". She also released her first solo photobook.

2005 Edit

Niigaki joined the Hello! Project concert unit Hello! Project Akagumi as a member of Morning Musume. She also participated in two radio shows, those being TBC Fun Fīrudo Mōretsu Mōdasshu and Hello Pro Yanen!!.

2006 Edit

Niigaki joined the Hello! Project concert unit Wonderful Hearts as a member of Morning Musume. Niigaki released her second solo photobook, "Ama Natsu", on June 25.

2007 Edit

In early 2007, Niigaki was chosen to be a member of Morning Musume Tanjō 10-nen Kinentai (モーニング娘。誕生10年記念隊) along with Iida Kaori, Abe Natsumi, Goto Maki and Koharu Kusumi - a unit created to celebrate Morning Musume's 10th anniversary. Their first single, "Bokura ga Ikiru My Asia", was released on January 24, 2007. On June 1, 2007, following then-leader Fujimoto Miki's resignation from Morning Musume, Takahashi Ai replaced Fujimoto as leader, while Niigaki took Takahashi's place as sub-leader.

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

2008 Edit

It was announced in July 2008, that Niigaki and fellow Morning Musume member Takahashi Ai would play the 80s J-pop duo Pink Lady in the TV Drama Hitmaker Aku Yū Monogatari. From August 6, 2008 through August 25, Morning Musume along with members of the Takarazuka Revue performed a version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella with Niigaki as the Prince.

On August 26, 2008, Niigaki became one of four members to remain in Morning Musume for seven years or more (the others being Iida Kaori, Yoshizawa Hitomi and fellow fifth generation member Takahashi Ai). On January 17, 2009, Niigaki and Takahashi became the longest serving members in Morning Musume history, breaking the four year old record set by Iida Kaori.


It was announced by the Official Anime Expo website that Japanese pop group Morning Musume will be attending the annual Anime convention, the Anime Expo in Los Angeles, California in July 2009. They were Guests of Honor at the event. All members of the current lineup [as well as Koharu Kusumi] including Niigaki attended the Anime Expo. At the convention, Morning Musume held autograph sessions and a concert. The amount of fans who came to the concert reached numbers over 7,000 people.


It was announced in 2010 that Niigaki would be starring in a movie called Gekijoubon Hontou ni Atta Kowai Hanashi 3D as one of the main characters. The movie will star Niigaki along with Nakajima Saki of C-ute and Hello!Project Egg members Sayuki Takagi and Ayano Satou


On the 9th of January 2011, fellow 5th generation member Takahashi Ai announced that she would be graduating from the group at the end of their Autumn concert tour, making Risa the new leader of the group once Takahashi graduates, Risa will become the member with the longest tenure in the groups history, and the first leader to have once been the youngest member.

On August 4, she dyed her hair blonde.

On August 26, 2011, Niigaki and Takahashi Ai turned 10 years being in Morning Musume, and 10 years that 5th generation were held.

On September 30, 2011, she became the new Leader of Morning Musume and Hello! Project.


On January 02, 2012 it was annoucend that Niigaki Risa will Graduate From Morning Musume and Hello! Project, on the last day of Morning Musume 2012 Spring Concert Tour that is May 13, 2012.

Morning Musume Leadership will be passed on to Michishige Sayumi and Sub-Leader will be Tanaka Reina, and she will pass on the Leadership of Hello! Project to Shimizu Saki from Berryz Koubou.

Profile Edit

  • Name: Niigaki Risa (新垣里沙)
  • Nickname: Gaki-san, Mame and Sacchun, Risa-Chii(by fans)
  • Birth date: October 20, 1988 ( age 23)
  • Birthplace: Kanagawa Prefecture
  • Blood type: B
  • Height: 153.5 cm
  • Hello! Project Status:
    • 2001-08-26: Member
    • 2001-08-26: Morning Musume Member
  • Up-Front Agency Status:
    • 2001-08-26: Member
  • Years in Morning Musume: 10 Years
  • Eastern Zodiac: Dragon
  • Western Zodiac: Libra
  • Hobby: Going to Disneyland. I go there 4 times a month ♪ If I have time in the evening after work, I go to the Disney store
  • Favorite food: Eihire (dried stingray fins), Mickey waffles, grilled eel and parfaits
  • Disliked food: Fried meat
  • Favorite saying: "Be considerate every day and try the hardest you can! hehe"
  • Favorite color: Pea-green and white
  • Favorite flowers: Sunflowers
  • Favorite season: Winter
  • Specialty: Hangul, finishing a task, I can text without looking at the keys, and I am a self-proclaimed Disney master.
  • Favorite Animal: Cat, penguin
  • Hello! Project Groups:
    • Morning Musume (2001–2012)
    • Morning Musume Tanjou 10nen Kinentai (2007)
    • Athena & Robikerottsu (2007–2008)
    • ZYX-α (2009)
    • Hello! Project Mobekimasu (2011-2012)
  • Subgroups:
    • Tanpopo (2002)
    • Morning Musume Sakura Gumi (2003–2004)
  • Concert Units:
    • Hello! Project Akagumi (2005)
    • Wonderful Hearts (2006–2012)
  • Shuffle Units:
    • 2002: Happy 7
    • 2003: 7AIR
    • 2004: H.P. All Stars
  • Other:
    • Pocky Girls (2002)
    • Metro Rabbits H.P. (2006–)

Singles Participated InEdit

Morning MusumeEdit

Morning Musume Tanjou 10nen KinentaiEdit

  • Bokura ga Ikiru MY ASIA
  • Itoshiki Tomo e

Morning Musume Sakura GumiEdit

  • Hare Ame Nochi Suki
  • Sakura Mankai

H.P. All StarsEdit



  • BE HAPPY Koi no Yajirobee

Athena & RobikerottsuEdit

  • Shouri no BIG WAVE!!!
  • Seishun! LOVE Lunch


  • [2011.11.16] Busu ni Naranai Tetsugaku (ブスにならない哲学)

Releases Edit

Photobooks Edit

# Title Release date Publisher Photobook information
5 - Morning Musume 5 Ki Generation Member

(5 モーニング娘。5期メンバー写真集)

2002-08-16 Wani Books Photobook starring all of the 5th generation members.
1 Niigaki Risa


2004-10-07 Wani Books First solo photobook
2 Ama Natsu


2006-06-25 Wani Books Second solo photobook
3 Isshun


2007-05-27 Wani Books Third solo photobook
4 Happy Girl

4thソロ写真集「Happy Girl」)

2008-04-25 Wani Books Fourth solo photobook



2010-07-14 Fifth solo photobook

DVDs Edit

  • Alo Hello! Niigaki Risa DVD (アロハロ!新垣里沙 DVD) (2007-06-13)
  • Alo Hello! 2 Niigaki Risa DVD (アロハロ!2 新垣里沙 DVD) (2009-01-21)
  • Alo Hello! 3 Niigaki Risa DVD ( アロハロ!3 新垣里沙 DVD) (2010-07-14)

Appearances Edit

Movies Edit

  • Tokkaekko (とっかえっ娘。) (2002)
  • Koinu Dan no Monogatari (子犬ダンの物語) (2003)
  • Gekijouban Hontoni Atta Kowai Hanashi 3D (劇場版ほんとうにあった怖い話3D) (2010)

Television Dramas Edit

  • Angel Hearts (2002)
  • Ore ga Aitsu de Aitsu ga Ore de (おれがあいつであいつがおれで) (2002)
  • Hitmaker Aku Yū Monogatari as Kei from Pink Lady (2008)
  • Hanbun Esper (半分エスパー) (Episode # , 2010- -)

Televisions Shows Edit

  • Hello! Morning (ハロー!モーニング。) (Start: 2001 - End: 2007-04-01)
  • Tin Tin Town! (ティンティンTown!) (Start: 2002-07-05 - End: 2004-03-26)
  • Sore Yuke! Gorokkies (それゆけ!ゴロッキーズ) (Start: 2003-09-29 - End: 2003-12-26)
  • Futarigoto (二人ゴト) (Start: 2004-07-01 - End: 2004-07-02)
  • Majokko Rika-chan no Magical v-u-den (魔女っ娘。梨華ちゃんのマジカル美勇伝) (Start: 2004-10-21 - End: 2004-11-10)
  • Musume Dokyu! (娘Dokyu!) (Start: 2005-06-13 - )
  • Haromoni@ (ハロモニ@) (Start: 2007-04-08 - End: 2008-09-28)
  • Hanbun Esper (半分エスパー) (Episode # , 2010- -)

Radio Edit

  • Tanpopo Henshūbu Oh-So-Ro! (タンポポ編集部 Oh-So-Ro!) (Start: 2002-09-24 - End: 2003-09-23)
  • TBC Fun Fīrudo Mōretsu Mōdasshu (TBC Funふぃーるど・モーレツモーダッシュ) (Start: 2005-04-01 - End: 2005-04-15) & (Start: 2005-07-25 - End: 2005-08-05)
  • Hello Pro Yanen!! (ハロプロやねん!!) (Start: 2005-06-10 - End: 2005-06-24)

Trivia Edit

  • Niigaki's best friend within Hello! Project is her fellow Morning Musume member, Takahashi Ai.
  • 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, Niigaki did some work as a magazine model since spring 2000.
  • In a recent Jpop Wave interview, she said that her favorite Korean artists are BoA, Se7en and TVXQ.
  • Niigaki, along with Takahashi Ai, have the record for the longest tenures of any Morning Musume members.
  • Niigaki, along with Takahashi Ai have the longest tenures as members of the group, and they have participated in the most number of Morning Musume singles, with 35 (Kono Chikyuu no Heiwa o Honki de Negatsu Terun da yo! / Kare to Issho ni Omise ga Shitai!).
  • Calls her grandmother "Baba-chan."
  • Niigaki is the youngest member ever to become sub-leader, being only 18 at the time.
  • Only Goto Maki calls her "Nii Nii".
  • She is allergic to pollen.
  • Her shoe size is 37.
  • Has said that the song that gets her fired up at concerts is "HOW DO YOU LIKE JAPAN? ~Nihon wa Donna Kanji Dekka?~" and the song that fits her perfectly is "Shanimuni Paradise".
  • These are her opinions of the characters of the other Morning Musume members:
  • These are the other members' opinions on Niigaki's character:
    • Takahashi: Reliable person.
    • Kamei: Sparkling!
    • Michishige: Nice!!
    • Tanaka: Reliable.
    • Kusumi: Reliable.
    • Mitsui: Reliable.
    • Junjun: Hardworking.
    • Linlin: Green princess!
  • She is the last member in Morning Musume and Hello! Project] to be before Hello! Project Kids.
  • She said that if she could become another Hello! Project that she would become Sayashi Riho or Suzuki Kanon, because she wants to what its like to be young again.
  • Ikuta Erina said that if she could become another member of Hello! Project, that would be Risa.
  • In Yorosen, she taught Morning Musume about coming-of-age celebrations.
  • On August 26, 2011, Niigaki and Takahashi Ai turned 10 years in Morning Musume.
  • In Japan Files comment for 10 My Me, all members said that Risa is the best rapper of Morning Musume.
  • Niigaki is the only member to have ever been once the youngest member and become leader of Morning Musume.
  • She is learning Korean.
  • She is currently the leader of Hello! Project as well as Morning Musume and Mobekimasu.
  • Is first Morning Musume leader to have the leadership of a major unit in Hello!Project.
  • She announced her graduation on January 02, 2012 at Hello! Project 2012 Winter Concert ~Rock-Chan~ after being leader for only 3 months and 2 days.
  • When her graduation arrives, Niigaki would have only been leader of Morning Musume and Hello! Project for only 7 months and 13 days.
  • Her graduation is due to take place on the last day of Morning Musume 2012 Spring Tour ~Ultra Smart~ on May 13, 2012.
  • She is the last one of her generation who will graduate.

Honorary Titles Edit

Niigaki Risa has held six titles in Morning Musume and Hello!Project so far, those being;

Honorary titles

Preceded by

Takahashi Ai

Sub-leader of Morning Musume


Succeeded by


Preceded by

Kago Ai

Youngest Member in Morning Musume

2001 - 2003

Succeeded by

Tanaka Reina

Preceded by

Takahashi Ai

Longest serving member of Morning Musume
2009 – present

Succeeded by


Preceded by

Takahashi Ai

Leader of Morning Musume

September 30, 2011 – present

Succeeded by


Preceded by

Takahashi Ai

Leader of Hello! Project

September 30, 2011 – present

Succeeded by


Preceded by

Takahashi Ai

Oldest Member of Hello! Project

September 30, 2011 – Present

Succeeded by


External Links Edit