In the past couple weeks I have been slowly realizing (thanks to the fact that I can't read Japanese) that one of my all-time favorite idol groups has now broken up. Or "paused activities" as the translation I read put it. SunRisa have stopped being active after a September 7, 2018 performance. It was officially announced by Imamori Manaka on Twitter on October 9, 2018, by Kada Yume on Twitter the same day and on the SunRisa Twitter on October 11, 2018. The SunRisa website and the second SunRisa YouTube channel have both been deleted. Manaka is now modeling for a company named CONAMi. Yume is also modeling as well as being a student.
For those of you who need a refresher, I was the first to write about SunRisa in English on April 17, 2015. The original group debuted on April 13, 2014 with five members: Kozai Sakura, Kumada Rena, Matsuo Fuka, Kawasaki Sakura and Shimada Mayuka. Okamura Minami joined later in June 2014. Imamori Manaka was originally a candidate (trainee), but joined as a full member on August 22, 2014. (Many fans assume that Minami was an original member when she wasn't.) By April 2015 everyone except Fuka, Mayuka, Manaka and Minami had graduated. In early May Mayuka graduated, followed by Fuka's graduation two weeks later. SunRisa, now a duo, re-recorded their first two singles, "OVER FLOW" and "Fashionable", making the very limited edition CDs with four members singing instant collector's items. Of course, by October 2018 all of SunRisa's CD singles and mini-albums are presumably out-of-print. Minami graduated on October 6, 2016 and later joined Hello! Project. Kada Yume and another girl named Haruka joined SunRisa in February 2017 only to have Haruka leave by April. Ever since April 2017 it's been Manaka and Yume, with this duo recording yet another version of "Fashionable" and releasing it on the same-titled mini-album on December 24, 2017. Now it seems SunRisa have broken up after four-and-a-half years.
I've said a number of Japanese idol groups were my favorites throughout my time as a fan of this music. Sakura Gakuin, Caramel☆Ribbon, NA-NA, Candy Kiss, PARLISH, amorecarina Osaka and SunRisa have all taken top spots as my favorite group. My favorite idol has also changed over time, with Miyoshi Ayaka, Fukata Seina, Yamashita Honoka, Wada Yuka, Tsukamoto Ririka and, of course, Imamori Manaka all being personal favorites. But when I say Manaka has the best voice in all Japanese pop music right now, you better believe I mean it! If Manaka wants to take a break from performing as an idol, and wants to focus on modeling, that's fine. But I seriously hope that someday Manaka will return to singing. This girl has a beautiful voice! Manaka's voice is one of the reasons why "OVER FLOW" was my favorite idol song of 2015; one of the reasons why "Z.E.N.R.Y.O.K.U. Zenkai ~Hisshi no Patchi~" was my second favorite idol song of 2016*; and one of the reasons why "GAO GAO" was my favorite idol song of 2017. (*In 2016 I was most impressed with the song "Shooting star ☆" by amorecarina Osaka.)
The original SunRisa YouTube channel, which thankfully hasn't been deleted yet, mostly has short clips of promos and dance covers, but there is also this wonderful video of Manaka singing a cappella.
There are also several fan videos of SunRisa to watch, such as this favorite for "GAO GAO".
I'm a big fan of Manaka's so maybe I'm getting upset over something that may not seem like a big deal to most people, even Japanese idol fans. But really, I'm reacting like any real fan would react. My favorite singer and yours may be different, but you'd probably say something similar if one of your favorite singers left the entertainment industry, or one of your favorite groups broke up. Manaka to me is a real gem of a girl! Talented, gorgeous and kind, she's what anyone would want in a girl. I'll be awaiting your return, Manaka-chan!