Risa Niigaki (新垣 里沙 Niigaki Risa?, born October 20, 1988 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan) is a fifth generation member of the Japanese pop group Morning Musume as well as the sub-leader. She joined Morning Musume in 2001 along with Ai Takahashi, Asami Konno and Makoto Ogawa. She grew up in Yokohama after moving there at age six. As of 2009, she is the longest serving sub-leader of Morning Musume.
In 2001, Niigaki joined Morning Musume as the fifth generation along with Ai Takahashi, Asami Konno, and Makoto Ogawa. 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" and first appeared in their 4th 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 (Ai Takahashi and Makoto 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 early 2007, Niigaki was chosen to be a member of Morning Musume Tanjō 10nen Kinentai (モーニング娘。誕生10年記念隊?) along with Kaori Iida, Natsumi Abe, Maki Goto and Koharu Kusumi - 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.
Following Nozomi Tsuji'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.
On August 26, 2008, Niigaki became one of four members to remain in Morning Musume for seven years or more (the others being Kaori Iida, Hitomi Yoshizawa and fellow fifth generation member Ai Takahashi).
On January 17, 2009, Niigaki and Takahashi became the longest serving members in Morning Musume history, breaking the four year old record set by Kaori Iida.
On August 26, 2009, Niigaki and Takahashi became the first members to remain in Morning Musume for eight years.
In 2009, Niigaki was assigned to be apart of the new shuffle group, ZYX-α with Kusumi Koharu, Sudou Maasa , Tsugunaga Momoko, Umeda Erika, Tokunaga Chinami, Ogawa Saki, and Wada Ayaka.
|#||Title||Release date||Publisher||ISBN||Photobook information|
|–||5 - Morning Musume 5 Ki Generation Member Shashinshū (5 モーニング娘。5期メンバー写真集?)||2002-08-16||Wani Books||ISBN 4-8470-2721-3||Photobook starring all of the 5th generation members|
|1||Niigaki Risa (1stソロ写真集「新垣里沙」?)||2004-10-07||Wani Books||ISBN 4-8470-2827-9||First solo photobook|
|2||Ama Natsu (2ndソロ写真集「あま夏」?)||2006-06-25||Wani Books||ISBN 4-8470-2941-0||Second solo photobook|
|3||Isshun (3rdソロ写真集「一瞬」?)||2007-05-27||Wani Books||ISBN 4-8470-4013-9||Third solo photobook|
|4||Happy Girl (4thソロ写真集「Happy Girl」?)||2008-04-25||Wani Books||ISBN 4-8470-4080-5||Fourth solo photobook|
- 2007-06-13 – Alo Hello! Niigaki Risa DVD (アロハロ！新垣里沙 DVD?)
- 2009-01-21 – Alo Hello! 2 Niigaki Risa DVD (アロハロ！2 新垣里沙 DVD?)
- 2010-07-14 – Alo Hello! 3 Niigaki Risa DVD (アロハロ！3 新垣里沙 DVD?)
- 2002 – Angel Hearts
- 2002 – Ore ga Aitsu de Aitsu ga Ore de (おれがあいつであいつがおれで?)
- 2008 – Hitmaker Aku Yū Monogatari as Kei from Pink Lady
|Show||Start date||End date|
|Hello! Morning (ハロー！モーニング。?)||2001||April 1, 2007|
|Tin Tin Town! (ティンティンTown!?)||July 5, 2002||March 26, 2004|
|Sore Yuke! Gorokkies (それゆけ!ゴロッキーズ?)||September 29, 2003||December 26, 2003|
|Futarigoto (二人ゴト?)||July 1, 2004||July 2, 2004|
|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?)||October 21, 2004||November 10, 2004|
|Musume Dokyu! (娘Dokyu!?)||June 13, 2005||—|
|Haromoni@ (ハロモニ@?)||April 8, 2007||September 28, 2008|
|Program||Start date||End date|
|Tanpopo Henshūbu Oh-So-Ro! (タンポポ編集部 Oh-So-Ro!?)||September 24, 2002||September 23, 2003|
|TBC Fun Fīrudo Mōretsu Mōdasshu (TBC Funふぃーるど・モーレツモーダッシュ?)||April 1, 2005||April 15, 2005|
|July 25, 2005||August 5, 2005|
|Hello Pro Yanen!! (ハロプロやねん!!?)||June 10, 2005||June 24, 2005|
|Sub-leader of Morning Musume|
2007 – present
|Longest serving member of Morning Musume|
2009 – present
(held with Ai Takahashi)