ⓘ W (group)

W (group)

ⓘ W (group)

W was a Japanese idol duo formed in 2004 by Up-Front Promotion and associated with Hello! Project. The members consisted of Nozomi Tsuji and Ai Kago, former fourth generation members of Morning Musume. The duo disbanded in 2007 following Kagos dismissal from their agency.


1.1. History 2004: Formation and debut

In 2004, Ws formation was announced not long after Nozomi Tsuji and Ai Kagos graduations from Morning Musume. Tsuji and Kago had previously worked together in one of Morning Musumes sub-units, Mini Moni, as a side project. Both members had been known as the "Twins" and had been some of Morning Musumes most popular members since joining the group at age 12. Tsunku, Hello! Projects producer, had selected the name "W" because the origin of the name meant "two Us" and "gave off the feeling of two Yous", symbolizing Tsuji and Kagos dual nature.

W released their debut three-song EP, Koi no Vacance, the title track being a cover version of The Peanuts 1960 song. The EP was followed a few weeks later by their debut album as W, Duo U&U, which contained covers of other Shōwa period female duo songs exclusively. One of the other groups covered by W on the first album was Pink Lady. Pink Lady were invited to perform with W on Japanese television as a one-time four-piece ensemble.

Kago and Tsuji performed their graduation concert final performance as members of Morning Musume in August 2004; a week later, their second single "Aa Ii na!" was released. Not only was it the duos first release since they departed Morning Musume, it was also the first W single to feature an original composition by Hello! Project founder and producer Tsunku. A third single of original material, "Robo Kiss", followed three months later.

In December 2004, W joined their fellow Hello! Project members on the 2004 shuffle unit single "All for One and One for All", credited to the H.P. All Stars. W also began joining Morning Musume onstage at concerts during this period to perform Kago and Tsujis final Morning Musume single, "Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari" together with their former bandmates.


1.2. History 2005: Rise to popularity

Ws second album, 2005s 2nd W, released in March 2005, contained Shōwa period J-pop cover songs as well as original songs. Their prolific pace continued when a new non-LP single, "Ai no Imi o Oshiete!" followed a few months afterwards.

In videos and in concert appearances, W sometimes perform or co-headline with Berryz Kobo, the eight-member pre-teen girl group formed under Hello! Project. Berryz Kobo have appeared as dancers on Ws "Aa Ii na!" and "Robo Kiss" videos.

In the spring of 2005, W starred in their first stage musical, Cara & Mel, the Case of the Stolen Dangerous Violin, at Yokohama BLITZ in Yokohama and Ikebukuro Sun Shine Theater in Ikebukuro, Tokyo, from March 18, 2005 to April 10, 2005. In September 2005 the duo released their 6th single "Miss Love Tantei". The video, which features Kago and Tsuji playing multiple roles, including a reprisal of their stage musical roles of Cara and Mel. In addition to their musical career, W continued to appear on Hello! Projects weekly TV show Hello! Morning, often in tandem with Morning Musume.


1.3. History 2006-2007: Kagos suspension and disbandment

On January 11, 2006, the release of a new single, "Dō ni mo Tomaranai" on February 22, followed by their third full-length album, W3: Faithful on March 15, was announced. However, they were pushed back after photographs of Kago smoking underage were published in Friday in February 2006. Hello! Project issued a press statement saying that Kago and Ws activities had been suspended indefinitely. Kago was put under house arrest for a year and was not allowed to contact Tsuji.

In January 2007, Kago returned to Tokyo and did assorted clerical work at her agencys office while the company was making preparations for her comeback. Not long after, photographs of Kago smoking underage for a third time, as well as going on a "dirty weekend trip" to an onsen with a 37-year-old man, began circulating in the media, completely tarnishing her reputation. Kago was dismissed from the company, and W disbanded as a result.


1.4. History Post-W activities

Kago posted on her blog in 2014 that she and Tsuji were in contact again. In 2018, Tsuji and Kago were invited as guests at Hello! Projects 20th anniversary summer concert, leading to both their names trending on Twitter; they were scheduled to perform together, but Tsuji dropped out from maternity leave. In 2019, they were announced as performing guests at Hello! Projects spring concert and were releasing their previously cancelled works, "Do ni mo Tomaranai" and W3: Faithful, on March 30 as digital releases; "Do ni mo Tomaranai" would be bundled as a double A-side single with "Choi Waru Devil." At Hello! Projects spring concert, the two performed together in front of a crowd of 5.000 people for the first time in 13 years.

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