Farewell to the Cutest, Sayumi Michishige (Former Morning Musume'14)

Sayumi Michishige
道重さゆみ
Former Leader of Morning Musume'14
November 26th of 2014. 

I never thought I'd be so affected by a date before. Usually, I am very calm when my favorite idols graduate. For example, when Ai and Reina graduated, I wasn't so broken up about it. Aya Matsuura had already graduated when I became her fan, so I can't say graduations had ever been anything but something sweet to me.. It wasn't until this date that it hit me that this graduation was different.

There are those who admire Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus or Justin Bieber. I admire a girl from a group in Japan who had started at the back of the line.

Sayumi started my love for the female J-idol scene. Before I became a fan of  Perfume, ℃-ute and other J-idol groups, there was Morning Musume and in Morning Musume --- Sayumi caught my attention.



If I am to be honest, I have no idea why. I first discovered Morning Musume while I was looking around youtube. One of the songs I found was Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari or Noisy Girls Story.

(From L to R) Ogawa Makoto, Kago Ai, Iida Kaori,
Sayumi Michishige, Yaguchi Mari and Takahashi Ai
Screenshot from Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari
It is not something that makes sense even for me. If I was looking for someone with looks, I could easily have chosen to like someone like Rika Ishikawa but I didn't. I'd always been the type to go for the idol with vocals too, so even I was asking why.

She couldn't sing, wasn't particularly good at dancing and back then she wasn't considered the beauty of the group. She was understandably one of the weakest members in the group. Though I did feel she had something. There was simply something very cute about her.

As I began to learn more about her, I learned that we are so similar in taste and thinking. She was the one I could relate to the most. But at the beginning that would be where our similarities would end.

From Sayumi's First Photobook, Shashinshu
Learning about Sayumi couldn't have come at a better time though. I didn't have the best self-confidence in highschool. It got a lot better when I reached College, but I still felt myself lacking as a performer.

Who would have thought a girl my age from Japan could change that?

A lot of people are quick to dislike Sayumi because of her poison tongue and vain character. I find their dislike understandable, so I can't really blame them. I believe neither did Sayumi. Their dislike was probably what she was aiming for.

People look at Sayumi and would never have thought that she had feelings of inadequacy like any other person. She admitted in her radio program how it unsettled her to have no photobooks for two years after releasing her first. She does have insecurities but that doesn't mean she would stop working hard because of them.

From Sayumi's Ninth Photobook, Mille-feuille.
She taught me two things. It is alright to be vain and love yourself. It is okay to be the weakest as long as you climb up to be the best. I guess she helped start my "never settle for a sub-par performance" principle in everything I do.

"There are good things that happen to those who wait," she said in one interview. It has to be true. Though it might have taken more than 11 years but not only did she become leader and has the longest tenure in the group, she became known for her beauty and charm even if her singing is still quite weak.  She graduated leaving a legacy and that is more than most people in the idol industry get.

At the Morning Musume '14 Concert Tour
Aki GIVE ME MORE LOVE
~Michishige Sayumi Sotsugyou Kinen Special~
 
I watched her graduation yesterday expecting it would be like watching Ai, Risa and Reina's graduations. I thought I could watch it with calm. It came to be very surprising that I had shed tears while watching her graduation.

A lot of things happened. Mizuki Fukumura became the new Morning Musume leader with Haruna Iikubo and Erina Ikuta as sub-leaders. the 12th Generation made an appearance, Sayumi injured herself and had been in pain until the end of the concert. However, she continued on like nothing happened.

The concert had Sayumi written all over it. There was a sea of pink, Sayumi kisses Riho, all the songs that had always been associated with her was in the setlist, like Fantasy ga Hajimaru, Aruiteru, Shabondama and Akai Freesia. I was especially touched by Akai Freesia. I remember how I winced when I first  heard her sing it in her audition. She couldn't sing the song at all. I smiled watching her because she might not have done it perfectly, but her rendition was perfectly Sayumi.

At the end of the concert, Sayumi cried.

Screenshot from Sayumi's End Concert VTR.
I can't believe it is really over. After 4,329 days in Morning Musume --- more than 11 years, Sayumi Michishige bid her goodbye. Once a girl with only the love of Morning Musume and her fans pushing her forward, she leaves the stage to become someone for herself now.

Sayumi waves her final goodbye.
While I should probably be asking what this would mean for Morning Musume'14, I won't because I believe they will be just fine. If Sayumi says they are ready, then I believe her. No one loves Morning Musume more than Sayumi after all. I don't think she would leave knowing she was still needed. I would rather ask, will we ever see her again?

Oyasayumin, to the #1 Cutest Girl in the World.

•*/) /)
ฅ(• - •)ฅうん•*¨*•. Usa-chan PEACE!♬







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