Morning Daughters to Morning Mothers

Filed in Cult of Pop 1.0

Barb and I were at the Coco Ichibanya in Waikiki last night and, while flipping through the Japanese gossip mags, I stumbled on a couple of articles about Ishiguro Aya.

Aya was one of the five in the original (1st gen) Morning Musume line-up, and the second to leave the group. She left at the end of 1999 after their wildly successful seventh single, “Love Machine,” to pursue a career in fashion. Instead, she was made pregnant by her boyfriend, Shinya – the drummer of rock band Luna Sea – and got married. In August of last year, Aya and Shinya had their third child; Aya was making a round of appearances with the Japanese media in the early months of her pregnancy. Now an expert on motherhood, Aya wrote a book on her experience, Kosodatte Project. I think it’s her second book, as there’s another book I’ve found by Ishiguro about motherhood and life after Momusu.

I keep intending to pick up both, if only for whatever photos of Aya will be included.

Aya wasn’t the only pregnant Musume last year. The third member to leave, Ichii Sayaka, was made pregnant from her boyfriend – the guitarist of her follow-up project, Cubic Cross – and got married as well. The news broke in spring of last year, so I’m assuming they’ve had their child already and are staying out of the media spotlight.

If anything, Sayaka’s pregnancy brings up a strange notion for the Momusu-obsessed (such as myself): is the “Love Machine” curse taking on a new form?

For the uninformed and apathetic, the “Love Machine” curse deals with the cover of the single: if you read it in Japanese fashion, right-to-left, top-down, then you have the order in which people have left the group. That’s been true for the first six of the eight in Momusu at the time: Ishiguro Aya, Ichii Sayaka, Nakazawa Yuko, Goto Maki, Yasuda Kei, and Natsumi Abe.

This past summer, the curse was “broken” when Kago Ai and Tsuji Nozomi graduated to form W. However, Kago and Tsuji weren’t a part of Momusu when “Love Machine” came out. Maybe they shouldn’t count, then. Number Seven on the curse would be Iida Kaori – and she graduates this month.

The last of the “Love Machine” eight, Mari Yaguchi, seems intent for staying as long as possible – she’s even the new leader of the group once Kaori leaves. But since she’s the last on the list, if post-“Love Machine” members don’t count, it doesn’t matter when she leaves. As far as the curse is concerned, she’s still in the right order.

But! But what if the “Love Machine” is going to start predicting who gives birth in Momusu? Is it a coincidence? It may be easy to rig who leaves Momusu and when, but getting knocked up…? That’s different.

If I was Yuko, I’d be very very careful…