Risa Niigaki (新垣 里沙, born October 20, 1988 in Kanagawa, Japan) is a fifth generation member of the Japanese pop group Morning Musume. She joined Morning Musume in 2001 along with Takahashi Ai, Konno Asami and Ogawa Makoto. Niigaki is the current sub-leader of Morning Musume, inheriting the title from the current leader, Takahashi Ai.
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. Niigaki, along with many other members of Morning Musume at that time, starred in a drama entitled Angel Hearts which was released in 2002. In 2003, she was placed into Morning Musume Sakura Gumi, which released two singles before also becoming inactive.
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 Kusumi Koharu - a unit created to celebrate Morning Musume's 10th anniversary. Their first single, Bokura ga Ikiru My Asia (僕らが生きる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 Aika Mitsui, as well as Saki Nakajima and Chisato Okai of °C-ute.
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.
- Name: Niigaki Risa (新垣里沙)
- Nickname: Gaki-san, Omame-chan, Niinii, MC Gaki, Gakinkomame (given by Fujimoto Miki)
- Birth date: October 20, 1988
- Birthplace: Kagoshima, Japan (raised in Hodogaya-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture)
- Blood type: B
- Height: 154.4 cm
- Hobby: Electone
- Favorite food: Monjayaki
- Disliked food: Fried meat
- Favorite saying: "Never let go, no matter what, and keep trying!"
- Favorite color: Light blue, pink, white, yellow
- Favorite flowers: Sunflowers
- Favorite season: Winter
- Specialty: Mayuge beam/wave, "I'm in the middle of practicing my robot dance... (laugh)"
- Hello! Project Groups:
- Concert Units:
- Shuffle Units:
For musical releases as part of Morning Musume, see Morning Musume discography.
|#||Title||Release date||Publisher||Photobook information|
|–|| 5 - Morning Musume 5 Ki Generation Member|
|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|
|2007-05-27||Wani Books||Third solo photobook|
|4|| Happy Girl|
|2008-04-25||Wani Books||Fourth solo photobook|
| Alo Hello! Niigaki Risa DVD|
| Alo Hello! 2 Niigaki Risa DVD|
(アロハロ！２ 新垣里沙 DVD)
| Koinu Dan no Monogatari|
| Ore ga Aitsu de Aitsu ga Ore de|
|Hitmaker Aku Yū Monogatari as Kei from Pink Lady||2008|
|Show||Start date||End date|
| Hello! Morning|
| Tin Tin Town!|
| Sore Yuke! Gorokkies|
| Majokko Rika-chan no Magical v-u-den|
| Musume Dokyu!|
|Program||Start date||End date|
| Tanpopo Henshūbu Oh-So-Ro!|
| TBC Fun Fīrudo Mōretsu Mōdasshu|
| Hello Pro Yanen!!|
Niigaki Risa has held three titles in Morning Musume so far, those being;
|Preceeded by||Sub-leader of Morning Musume||Suceeded by|
|Takahashi Ai||2007 - present||Incumbant|
|Preceeded by||Youngest member of Morning Musume||Suceeded by|
|Kago Ai||2001 - 2003||Tanaka Reina|
|Preceeded by||Longest serving member of Morning Musume||Suceeded by|
|Iida Kaori|| 2009 - present |
(held with Takahashi Ai)