On the 6th of June an official announcement was put out by Up-Front Promotion that Uta Shimamura’s contract with the company would be cancelled due to a disagreement on the terms of the contract. It was said that the family and Up-Front Promotion could not come to an agreement on contract terms that was satisfying to both parties, the contract was thus terminated.
Uta originally auditioned for Morning Musume ‘14’s 12th generation of members, but didn’t make it all the way. She was eventually added to the new and improved Country Musume, which got renamed to Country Girls. With the shaky history of Country Musume, Country Girls managed to get off to an explosive start with their major debut release of Itooshikutte Gomen ne / Koi Dorobou. This was not just due to the music, but due to the amazing synergy all the girls had witch each other along with the timing of their unveiling (following along the heels of Berryz Kobo’s indefinite hiatus news). It helped renew faith and reinvigorate interest in Hello! Project all over again. It wasn’t the sole reason, but it was one of many that escalated this interest. Being a member of Country Girls, Uta quickly became popular due to her extremely cute demeanor and presentation. In many ways she rivaled even Momoko Tsugunaga, who has reigned over the realm of cuteness since Sayumi Michishige graduated from Morning Musume ’14.
In recent times though, Uta had been silent from a lot of social media in comparison with her fellow members in Hello! Project, and this announcement helped solidify all of our fears. Statements have been left by all the members as well as their supervisor, Mai Satoda. The tone is almost universally the same: sorrow, surprise and a slight tinge of disappointment with a touch of hope moving forward.
While this is tough to accept for Country Girls fans and especially for Uta fans, please do your best to support her and her family in this decision. Most importantly, don’t forget to continue to support Country Girls during this time, since the transition can quickly either go sour or move forward depending on how fan support goes. I wish Uta Shimamura the best of luck in her future endeavors.
Below is a link to the Country Girls Fan Club Facebook Page’s post that contains translations of the announcement and the messages from the individual members.
Member Messages (Click Here)
Below are the music videos for their double A-side ‘debut’ single.