Takahashi Ai (高橋 愛)
- Nicknames: Airin, Aichan, Tettekete (Used only Utaban)
- Birthdate: September 14, 1986
- Birthplace: Fukui, Japan
- Sign: Virgo
- Blood Type: A
- Hobby: Classic Ballet
- Height: 153 cm
- Hobbies: Watching plays, ballet
- Specialty: Flipping her eyelids, bridge
- Favorite food: Sauce katsudon, omelette rice
- Disliked food: Mont blanc, eggplant, pineapple, musubi, perilla leaves
- Favorite color: Black, white, pink
- Favorite word: “Tomodachi” (友達 – “Friend”)
- Favorite season: Autumn
- Favorite flowers: Roses
- Favorite song: Tsumetai Umi / Start in My Life by Kuraki Mai
Takahashi Ai joined Morning Musume in 2001 as part of the group’s fifth generation, along with Ogawa Makoto, Konno Asami, and Niigaki Risa. Her debut with the group was on their single “Mr. Moonlight ~Ai no Big Band~. 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 Yaguchi Mari in the group Mini Moni, first appearing in the group’s movie Mini Moni ja Movie: Okashi na Daibouken! 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 starting from Morning Musume’s 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 the summer of 2005, she became part of the 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 Biyuuden, Tsuji Nozomi, Matsuura Aya, and Abe Natsumi, 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 Yoshizawa Hitomi’s graduation from Morning Musume on May 6, 2007, the current sub-leader, Fujimoto Miki 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 played the main character.
On July 2009 it was revealed that the unit High King (which includes Takahashi Ai, Tanaka Reina, Yajima Maimi, Shimizu Saki, and Maeda Yuuka) would return with its original members.
As of January 2009, she and Niigaki Risa have the longest tenures of any member. She is also one of only four members to remain in the group for seven years or more (the others being Iida Kaori, Yoshizawa and Niigaki) and one of two (along with Niigaki) to remain in the group for eight 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.
On January 1, 2011 Takahashi Ai announced her decision to graduate from Morning Musume and Hello! Project at the end of the Momusu 2011 Autumn concert tour. After her graduation Takahashi Ai will continue to work around music and live theatre.
- Love Audition 21 audition songs:
- Round 1: “Tsumetai Umi” (Kuraki Mai)
- Round 2: “Tsumetai Umi” (Kuraki Mai)
- Graduated from Hinode High School, a private academy known for its many celebrity students.
- First child in family and has one sister.
- Trained and highly skilled in classical ballet and singing. Entered a nation-wide competition with her junior high choir.
- On 7 October 1999, she appeared on the “BS Junior Nodo Jiman” singing competition held in Sabaeshi in Fukui and won the Best Stage Award.
- Her black catsuit from Minimoni ja Movie: Okashi na Daibouken! earned her the popular nickname “Takitty” amongst non-Japanese fans.
- The nickname “Tettekete” was given to her by Ishibashi Takaaki on Utaban. It was a play on her staccato, Morse Code-like speech pattern (e.g. “tette-te-tette-ke-kete”). However, she has mostly grown out of that pattern — as well as her Fukui accent — in the years since.
- Her photobook 19 holds the #1 spot in photobook rankings in 2006.
- Has been a huge fan of the Takarazuka Revue since childhood. Wanted to be a Takarasienne but gave up on it due to her short height. She is noted by other members for trying to make them watch videos of Takarazuka productions. Her favorite performer is Mizu Natsuki.
- Has personally acknowledged she is not good at talk/interview portions.
- Like Tsuji Nozomi, she also considers Matsuura Aya as her rival.
- Scored the second-highest in the Mechaike Okajo Taiikusai Test.
- Is close friends with her fellow fifth generation members Konno Asami, Ogawa Makoto, and especially Niigaki Risa.
- Currently she and Niigaki Risa have the longest tenures of any Morning Musume members. They both have also been featured in the most Morning Musume singles: 30 (as of Onna ga Medatte Naze Ikenai). Both records were formerly held by Iida Kaori.
- Morning Musume (2001 – 2011)
- Mini Moni (2003)
- Morning Musume Sakura Gumi (2003)
- Happy 7 (2002)
- 7Air (2003)
- H.P. All Stars (2004)
- Elegies (2005)
- High King (2008 – 2011)