20 Songs to Take You Through Berryz Kobo’s J-Pop Journey

  • Berryz Kobo (Berryz工房), which carries the meaning of Berryz Workshop, was originally a kids’ band by Hello! Project. The original lineup consisted of 8 members who were Sugaya Risako, Natsuyaki Miyabi, Shimizu Saki, Tsugunaga Momoko, Sudo Maasa, Kumai Yurina, Tokunaga Chinami, and Ishimura Maiha. The lineup was pretty stable with only Ishimura Maiha leaving the group in 2005 and no new member was added. This is a rare feat for an idol group produced by Hello! Project. The rest of the members were active since the formation of the group in January 2004 up until March 2015 when the group went on an indefinite hiatus.

    Being customary of the Japanese to respect their seniors, the oldest member usually becomes the leader of the band in Hello! Project idol groups. Thus, Shimizu Saki was appointed as the leader since she was the oldest member in Berryz Kobo. The main vocalists in the group were Natsuyaki Miyabi, Tsugunaga Momoko, and Risako Sugaya who are also the most popular members. Berryz Kobo had achieved some recognition in the music industry. For instance, the group set the record for being the youngest group to perform a solo concert at Saitama Super Arena in 2007. In 2008, Berryz Kobo was awarded the Best Asian Newcomer at the Asia Song Festival and a Cable Music Award at the 41st Japan Cable Awards ceremony.

    Let’s see the journey they have gone through with some of their music!

    1. Fighting Pose wa Date ja nai!

    ‘Fighting Pose wa Date ja nai!’ is their worst performing single with only 9634 copies sold. I believe it is because they were still new so this song received less attention. This song does not sound terrible or deserving to be their worst.

    2. Piriri to Youkou

    A fun song kids can sing in a bus to a school trip. I think Risako looks really cute in here.

    3. Koi no Jubaku

    I have always thought that the “Aah” sounds they made in this song are pretty inappropriate and mature for their ages. I think it was done in a bid to appeal to their fans. The producer may have wanted to spark controversy to make them more famous!

    4. Special Generation

    I believe this is one of their more popular songs due to its catchy beat. The girls started to appear more confident in dancing and singing in this video.

    5. Gag 100 Kaibun Aishite Kudasai

    This song seems to be made especially for Momoko since she sings almost all of the lines in this song. This is probably because it was meant to be a cute song and Momoko is the cute icon in the group who also possesses a cute voice.

    6. Jiriri Kiteru

    Is it just me or does this song really sound like it should be in a music game like Dance Dance Revolution and o2jam? I can totally imagine dancing or pressing the notes to this song in music games!

    7. Munasawagi Scarlet

    This song has an element of rock in it. The outfit reminds me of Kasumi Todoh from the King of Fighters game.

    8. Very Beauty

    Very Beauty is the first Berryz Kobo music video I watched which attracted me to them since they look so beautiful here. I love their outfits in this PV, especially Miyabi’s and Risako’s.

    9. Tsukiatteru no ni Kataomoi

    Not one of my favorite music videos. There was a remix version made by a fan which I prefer, but it seems to have been deleted from Youtube.

    10. Dschinghis Khan

    This is their cover of the German song, Dschinghis Khan! If you have not figured it out already, Dschinghis Khan is Genghis Khan, the Mongolian warrior, and ruler. In 2008, this song won the Cable Music Award and was nominated for Grand Prix.

    11. Yuke Yuke Monkey Dance

    Monkey Dance is a cute, fun and addictive song. The monkey outfit is funny and the lyrics are interesting.

    12. Madayade

    Unfortunately, I dislike this song. I also do not like that the girls purposely sing in a thicker voice which sounds forced. This song is like a theme song for old Japanese superhero movies or cartoons, such as Ultraman and Kamen Rider.

    13. Dakishimete Dakishimete

    A dance song with a disco background. I recall seeing this on the television before. It sounds like an anime song.

    14. Otakebi Boy WAO!

    This is another Berryz Kobo song which I do not enjoy. It has an old karaoke quality akin to some of the older Morning Musume music style.

    15. Aa, Yo ga Akeru

    I do not like the direction of this music video as I feel that they are being exploited. It looks more like a video AKB48 would make instead. The girls are dressed in babydolls in this video.

    16. Heroine Ni Narou Ka?

    The Berryz Kobo attempted to look like Lady Gaga in this music video. What was the producer thinking?! They do not look good in this style at all. It is a fashion and makeup disaster!

    17. Cha Cha Sing!

    The video for Cha Cha Sing! receives the highest number of views compared to all the other Berryz Kobo videos on Youtube! I have no idea why this is so, am I missing something here? Is this an anime song? It kind of reminds me of Koda Kumi’s songs.

    18. 1oku 3zenman Sou Diet Oukoku

    The diet song had me laughing at the lyrics which I believe is a case of poor translation. The lyrics supposedly poked fun and criticized Japan’s obsession with diet and skinniness. Some fans speculated that Tsunku, the producer of Berryz Kobo, wrote this song in an attempt to address the ‘haters’ who frequently made fun of Risako’s and Maasa’s weight gain after puberty. Not sure if fans read too much into it, but the robotic voice and dance were said to reflect the lifelessness of the “robotic” lifestyle of Japanese. Some parts of the song may sound annoying at first due to the over-repeating of words in a robotic voice, but upon listening to the song a few times, I became addicted to the chorus.

    19. Ai wa Itsumo Kimi no Naka ni

    Some fans commented that this is a song more befitting of C-ute, which is a rival band of Berryz Kobo under the same company. This song has a heavy beat with a march-like tempo. I love Risako’s hair color and hairstyle in this music video!

    20. Love Together

    Love Together is like a goodbye song to fans. The music video incorporates many dance moves from their previous music videos.

    Since the group started out as a children’s band, they probably felt too old to continue to be in this group when they reach early adulthood, hence, the indefinite hiatus of Berryz Kobo. Momoko is the only one who continues to be an idol as she joins the Country Girls while the other girls left to do other things.

    Although I am not a big fan of Berryz Kobo, I do feel sad with their disbandment as I have been following them on and off throughout the years! It is wishful thinking to hope that they would get back together again as female idols usually retire from the idol world before they reach their 30s.

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