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Ai Takahashi (高橋 愛 Takahashi Ai?) (born September 14, 1986) is a Japanese pop singer formerly associated with Hello! Project and actress, and best known as leader of Morning Musume and Hello!Project until 2011, and former member of its popular subgroup, Mini Moni.
Her audition involved a training camp of three days and two nights, in which participants were expected to learn a new song, a dance routine and a script. Out of 25,000 applicants, nine were selected for the camp in which Takahashi passed.
Her debut with the group was on their single "Mr. Moonlight: Ai no Big Band", and her first appearance on a Morning Musume full-length release was their fourth studio album, 4th Ikimasshoi!. Her first appearance within a Hello! Project shuffle unit release was on the 2002 single "Shiawase Beam! Suki Suki Beam!" under the group name Happy 7.
In 2003, Takahashi replaced Mari Yaguchi in the Morning Musume spinoff group Mini Moni, first appearing in the group's movie Mini Moni ja Movie: Okashi na Daibōken! and its accompanying soundtrack. Her best-known nickname amongst non-Japanese fans, "Takitty", was derived from the cat suit (complete with tail) which she wears in the movie.
Later in 2003, she was part of the Morning Musume splinter group Morning Musume Sakuragumi, which performed mainly slower numbers on the group's two EPs, "Hare Ame Nochi Suki" and "Sakura Mankai", and the shuffle group 7Air, an R&B-inspired septet.
Takahashi's vocals became more prominent on the second and final Mini Moni album, Mini Moni Songs 2 (2004), as well as on Morning Musume's singles from their Spring 2004 release "Roman: My Dear Boy" onward. She also had a duet with Tsunku on the cover version of Tsunku and Ayumi Hamasaki's duet "Love: Since 1999" on his solo album Take1.
In 2005, Morning Musume's first single release of the year, "The Manpower!!!", featured Takahashi in a prominent co-lead-vocal role, a role she has retained on subsequent singles since. In the summer of that year, she became part of the 2005 shuffle Group Elegies.
In 2006, Takahashi played the lead role, Sapphire, in the musical "Ribbon no Kishi The Musical" which was a collaboration work of Takarazuka Revue (a famous Japanese all-female musical group) and Hello! Project. The musical was based on Tezuka Osamu's manga and also starred v-u-den, Nozomi Tsuji, Aya Matsuura, and Natsumi Abe, as well as Marcia and Kaoru Ebira of the Takarazuka Revue. Soon thereafter, Takahashi released her first and only solo single to date, "Yume Kara Samete".
Following then-leader Hitomi Yoshizawa's graduation from Morning Musume on May 6, 2007, the current sub-leader, Miki Fujimoto ascended to the leader position, with Takahashi becoming the new sub-leader of the group. However, on June 1, 2007, after Fujimoto's resignation, Takahashi took over as the new leader.
In 2008 Takahashi became a member of Hello Project's new unit High-King, a group created to promote Morning Musume's upcoming Cinderella the Musical, in which Takahashi will play the main character.
It was announced in July 2008, that Takahashi and fellow Morning Musume member Risa Niigaki would play the 80s J-Pop duo Pink Lady in the TV Drama Hitmaker Aku Yuu Monogatari. Ai Takahashi performing at Morning Musume's Platinum 9 Disc concert tour on May 2009.As of January 2009, she and Risa Niigaki have the longest tenures of any member. She is also one of only seven members to remain in the group for seven years or more (the others being Kaori Iida, Yoshizawa, Niigaki, Eri Kamei, Sayumi Michishige and Reina Tanaka) and one of two (along with Niigaki) to remain in the group for eight or nine years.
On February 1, 2009, during the "Hello Pro Award '09 ~Elder Club Sotsugyō Kinen Special~" concert held at Yokohama Arena, Yuko Nakazawa passed on her leadership position in Hello! Project to Takahashi.
Around December 2009, Takahashi was one of many people to advertise for the release of Final Fantasy XIII in Japan.
In September 2010, she became the second Morning Musume member to be at least 24 years old and the first to reach that age while in the group (original member Yuko Nakazawa was 24 when the group was formed).
On January 9, 2011 it was announced that Takahashi would graduate from Morning Musume at the end of the Fall tour that year.
Takahashi's last single with Morning Musume, the double A-side "Kono Chikyuu no Heiwa wo Honki de Negatterun dayo!/ Kare to Issho ni Omise ga Shitai" (この地球の平和を本気で願ってるんだよ！/彼と一緒にお店がしたい！), included a B-side solo by Takahashi, "Jishin Motte Yume o Motte Tobitatsu Kara" (自信持って 夢を持って 飛び立つから), and was released on her birthday, September 14.
On September 30, 2011, on the last day of Morning Musume's 'Ai Believe' tour, Takahashi graduated from Morning Musume and Hello! Project at the Nippon Budokan, passing her current role of leader to Risa Niigaki.
Discography and releasesEdit
For releases as a part of Morning Musume, please see Morning Musume discography.===Singles===
|1||"Yume Kara Samete" (夢から醒めて?)||2006||Only released for digital purchase and download;|
later released as part of the Petit Best 7 compilation CD
||August 13, 2002||Wani Books|
|Photobook starring all of the 5th generation members.|
||December 9, 2002||Wani Books|
|First solo photobook.|
||December 17, 2003||Kadokawa Shoten||Second solo photobook.|
||May 27, 2004||Wani Books|
|Third solo photobook.|
||June 25, 2005||Wani Books|
|Fourth solo photobook.|
||January 27, 2006||Wani Books|
|Fifth solo photobook.|
||October 27, 2006||Wani Books|
|7||March 14, 2007||Kadokawa Publishing Group|
|Seventh solo photobook. Photographed in Phuket, Thailand.|
||October 26, 2007||Wani Books|
|Eighth solo photobook. Photographed in Bali.|
||May 25, 2008||Wani Books|
|Ninth solo photobook.|
||May 25, 2009||Wani Books|
|Tenth solo photobook.|
||May 27, 2010||Wani Books|
|Eleventh solo photobook.|
||March 28, 2011||Wani Books|
|Twelfth solo photobook.|
||September 14, 2011||Wani Books|
|Thirteenth solo photobook.|
|1||Alo Hello! Takahashi Ai DVD (アロハロ!高橋愛DVD?)||December 17, 2003|
|2||Love Hello! Takahashi Ai DVD (ラブハロ!高橋愛DVD?)||April 11, 2007|
|3||I Takahashi Ai DVD (写真集『私』高橋愛DVD?)||June 17, 2009|
|4||Figure Takahashi Ai DVD (写真集『形（かたち）』高橋愛DVD?)||June 2, 2010|
|5||Ai loves you I love Ai Takahashi Ai DVD (写真集『Ai loves you I love Ai』高橋愛DVD?)||April 20, 2011|
|6||Real Etude ~Takahashi Family to Niigaki Family DVD 1 (モーニング娘。高橋愛＆新垣里沙 リアルエチュード『高橋さん家と新垣さん家 ゲスト：松崎しげる編』 DVD?)||May 31, 2011|
|7||Real Etude ~Takahashi Family to Niigaki Family DVD 2 (モーニング娘。高橋愛＆新垣里沙 リアルエチュード『高橋さん家と新垣さん家 ゲスト：松崎しげる編』 DVD 2?)||May 31, 2011|
|8||Real Etude ~Takahashi Family to Niigaki Family DVD 3 (モーニング娘。高橋愛＆新垣里沙 リアルエチュード『高橋さん家と新垣さん家 ゲスト：松崎しげる編』 DVD 3?)||May 31, 2011|
|9||Love Love Love Takahashi Ai DVD (写真集『Love Love Love』高橋愛DVD?)||September 21, 2011|
|Title||Start date||End date|
|Mini Moni's Brementown Musicians (ミニモニ。でブレーメンの音楽隊?)||January 10, 2005||January 31, 2005|
|Hitmaker Aku Yuu Monogatari (ヒットメーカー 阿久悠物語?)||August 1, 2008|
|Q.E.D Shōmei Shūryō (Q.E.D 証明終了?)||January 8, 2009||March 12, 2009|
|Koi Choco – Bitter Sweet Angel (恋のチョコ-ビタースウィートエンジェル?)||February 14, 2011|
|Show||Start date||End date||Network|
|Hello! Morning (ハロー！モーニング。?)||2001||April 1, 2007||TV Tokyo|
|Matthew's Best Hit TV||May 29, 2002||TV Asahi|
|Tin Tin Town! (ティンティンTown!?)||July 5, 2002||March 26, 2004||Nihon TV|
|Sore Yuke! Gorokkies (それゆけ!ゴロッキーズ?)||September 29, 2003||December 26, 2003||TV Tokyo|
|Futarigoto (二人ゴト?)||April 21, 2004||April 23, 2004||TV Tokyo|
|July 23, 2004||July 29, 2004|
|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?)||December 1, 2004||December 6, 2004||TV Tokyo|
|December 16, 2004||December 17, 2004|
|Musume Dokyu! (娘DOKYU!?)||April 4, 2005||June 8, 2005||TV Tokyo|
|Haromoni@ (ハロモニ@?)||April 8, 2007||September 28, 2008||TV Tokyo|
|Yorosen! (よろセン!?)||October 6, 2008||March 27, 2009||TV Tokyo|
|Program||Start date||End date||Network|
|MBS Young Town Dōyōbi (MBSヤングタウン土曜日?)||April 12, 2003||Ongoing||MBS Radio|
|Ishikawa Rika no Chanchaka Charmy (☆石川梨華のちゃんちゃか☆チャーミー!?)||March 3, 2005||CBC Radio|
|TBC Fun Fīrudo Mōretsu Mōdasshu (TBC Funふぃーるど・モーレツモーダッシュ?)||May 16, 2005||May 27, 2005||TBC|