10 years without SweetS?!

088-830x1024In 2003, this beloved group of charming pre-teens with a girl-next-door vibe debuted. They were a powerhouse for talent, each girl showing a spark in certain areas of strength. SweetS had the personality, the chemistry, the vocals, and the visuals that made them so unforgettable to all of us.  These 5 found a place in our hearts: Aki, the bossy but caring leader; Aya, the quirky, quiet, smart vocalist; Haruna, the sweetheart with the heavenly voice; Miori, the secret weapon and charm; and Mai, the personality with passion and drive. For some, of us, they meant the world. For many, they were one of the staples of J-pop in the era they were in. Although they only had minor success, SweetS provided substance to the J-pop fanbase, especially overseas. SweetS fans were one of the most peaceful and tight-knit communities around, because their talent brought us together.

089On June 7, 2006, SweetS had their final release and disbandment as a group. The months between Bitter Sweets release and Color of Tears release were a strange time within the SweetS community, because the anticipation of a new single also meant the end of SweetS. This group had only been active for a little under three years, but they had already made a place in our hearts. I know I’m not the only one that remembers checking SweetSdesu forums daily — not just for SweetS news, but after a while just to talk with fellow fans. SweetS was a part of our daily routine. Time with this amazing group was short, but the memories of anticipating live performances, releases, interviews, and guest appearances on variety shows and laughing over them with friends from all over the world sits dearly with us. June 7 was one of the saddest days of my life. The SweetS fans made a strong bond not just with each other, but also formed a genuine love for the girls and their performance abilities themselves.

SweetS will always be a part of us. I know they’ll always be a part of my childhood. Ten years later and we’re still here. I know we’ll never have our 5 hearts that beat as 1 back in the way we miss so dearly, but I treasure 2003-2006 even more with age. Those were sweet times, every pun intended.

So where are the girls now?

13381388_1797345983829454_1906153176_nAKI

Aki is currently just being awesome in Tokyo with her really cute dog. No. Really. She auditioned with EXPG back in 2011 to be in the LDH group FLOWER, along with some former avex members. However, it was just honorary auditions. Since then, Aki’s kept an online personality and is probably one of most easily accessible and responsive SweetS members! She and I have communicated some over the past few years. It appears as though she may have given up on her music dreams, but she keeps up an active social life with the other former members, notably Miori and Mai (this is a cute video and you should watch it). She’s definitely worth a follow on instagram (and so is her dog… no really, do it) and is pretty friendly, but naturally I request that everyone will be respectful (although I know we’re one of the best mannered bunch out there) because it would be a shame to not have a chance to talk to her!
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o0480048012660856061Aya

Aya attempted a solo artist career from circa 2009 until 2013. She was with an indie label, Kool Groove Studios. I don’t know if it was just lack of proper budgeting or losing her passion, but Aya has more or less disappeared from any of the limelight for years now. It makes me sad to see vocal talent like hers go to waste, but she didn’t have enough structure on her own to create a successful solo career. I’m not sure what she’s up to these days, but I hope that she is happy and wish her all the best in the years to come. It would be great if she auditioned for a bigger label in a group atmosphere, but I will always respect her decision! Maybe the music biz just wasn’t for her after all.
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13188080_989608917821304_308254574_aharuna

Haruna is by far the member I get asked about the most and who people seem to miss the most. I can agree, she was the heart of SweetS and she was the entire package. It’s no wonder she was so loved. However, Haruna hasn’t pursued any sort of celebrity career and keeps her social media private. She attended cosmetology school and graduated and was temporarily employed at ATENA salon. I’m not sure on the specifics since then, but I *think* the child she is with in this picture is hers (don’t quote me on that, I have no official source confirmation). She seems happy and still interacts with the other girls on social media. It looks as though she wants to be a normal and private person, and I respect her choices. I miss her a lot and would have loved to see a solo career but perhaps she has found her calling in life. Since there is not much to say about her public life after SweetS, please enjoy a few photos of her:
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Miichan! She’s the most successful member post-SweetS. She’s a well-known actress in Japan and has landed leading roles in dramas (Ikemen Desu Ne and GTO being notable). She’s currently the vocalist for the band LAGOON. She jumped right into ad campaigns and appearing in music videos shortly after SweetS disbanded. I think it goes to say that she was probably the most underrated member of SweetS. She’ll always be that awkward kid I grew up with, though. Rumors reported that she was dating her former co-star Fujigaya (Ikemen Desu Ne, Kis-My-Ft2) in June 2015, but April 2016 it was reported that they had broken up. She’s doing very well for herself, but it’s nice to see that she’s still quirky and charming when she’s in interviews. I’m so happy to be able to follow her career all these years later, even if I don’t pay as much attention as I should.

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My favorite of the SweetS. She’s only recently become active, but now she’s doing as much as Miori! Mai lived a normal life for a couple of years after SweetS, hanging out with her best friend Mai and being excited about her boyfriend. She appeared in some local commercials. She became a member of Yuigadokuson in 2014 and they began performing live and releasing singles in 2015. Mai definitely gets Most Improved in terms of vocal skill. Her hard work shows. Mai is always genki.
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And there we have it. 5 of the most important girls from 2003-2006, completely grown. Go ahead and take a moment to cry with their graduation footage:

Forums are back!

Hey all.

In celebration of LAGOON forming and seeming to stick around, I’ve decided to re-open the forums. I’ve been getting activity regarding Miori again, and I know there aren’t many communities around there for her work or LAGOON.

It’s also going to be this website’s ten year anniversary in a few months, so I figured: why not? There are still SweetS sections, of course, and that’s where the discography and video downloads will be kept (if I ever get less lazy).

Just a bit of info:

Old Users: I have migrated the forum over from my old install (from 2011-2013). Try logging in here with your old username and it will prompt you to answer a new password. If you have problems with this or forgot your username, don’t hesitate to email me.

New Users: The sign up form here is pretty self explanatory (I tested it myself and it worked for me), but please email me with any problems or questions you may encounter. As for right now, I do have email activation enabled, so please do check for that in your inbox and spam folders as well.

I look forward to seeing all of you there! Thanks for still visiting!

Happy 10 Year Anniversary to SweetS!

SweetS, pre-debut (2003)

Today marks ten years since SweetS’ debut. These five girls had just gone through training and already formed friendships that would last a lifetime. Their ages ranged from 11-13 and they still managed to feature killer vocals.

SweetS (2004)

All five girls were blossoming stars with undeniable talent. While all had their strengths and weaknesses, even their flaws added charm point. They debuted during a magical time in the J-Pop world, when creativity, talent, and personality went a long way. Although they were together just under three years, SweetS made an impression on their most loyal fans that will never fade away.

Aki, 10 Year AnniversaryAKI (2003, 2006)

Aki Kashiwagi, our fearless leader! She was always known for being very foregoing, for gentler words (read: she was bossy!). This girl was born with a boost of self confidence that was inspiring for her age group. She never faltered to chatter away in interviews and there wasn’t a second thought to correcting a fellow SweetS member. Despite her tough exterior, she was really very gentle at heart. Her closeness to each girl and how strongly she felt about her friendships made in SweetS shone through behind the scenes and especially today. Aki is currently thriving at EXPG, participating in auditions. She refuses to ever let go of her dream and she’s making sure she has fun while doing it!

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AYA (2003, 2006)

Aya Yoshimura, the powerhouse vocals! Aya was always known for being the kind, shy girl, with random outbursts of her fearless personality. Although she tended to be on the quieter side and observe, she loved joining in on pranking her fellow SweetS members or go off with a hilarious story. She was sweet, gentle, and silly. Out of all of the girls, she was probably the diplomat. She always took her work seriously. The one thing we all know Aya for is her amazing voice. There wasn’t a line that she couldn’t deliver.  ¥Aya poured her heart into every SweetS song. She’s currently pursuing a solo career and experimenting with what sound works the best for her.

10_harunaHARUNA (2003, 2006)

Haruna Takewa, the heart of SweetS. What isn’t there to say about Haruna? She started off as your typical sweet girl — giggly, sometimes shy, but full of confidence. Haruna had attended Starlight Dance School previously so she was familiar with performing and dancing. What took everyone by surprise was her sweet, melodic, and powerful voice. Haruna was the complete package — vocals, dancing, cuteness, and personality. She was always ready to play with her fellow SweetS members, was the first to giggle at a joke, and handled every situation with adorable charisma. Haruna recently graduated from the cosmetology school of her choice and is working at her dream salon.

10_maiMAI (2003, 2006)

Mai Iwaswaki, our strong SweetS personality! Mai was the kind of girl that wore her heart on her sleeve. If Mai was feeling sad, you knew it. If Mai found something to be funny, her husky laugh would fill the room. Her expressiveness was endearing. She wasn’t afraid to stick up for herself and she wasn’t afraid to admit when someone hurt her feelings. She was a breath of goofy fresh air. Despite being honest with her emotions, Mai was like the class clown. She was always involved in the pranks. Her stage persona was that of the brave little toaster — she put her all into every performance, drawing on her training from Starlight Dance School. Her voice grew stronger over her years in SweetS even though she was never a front girl. She was the perfect piece to the SweetS puzzle. Mai is currently in school and appearing in local TV commercials.

10_mioriMIORI (2003, 2006)

Miori Takimoto, the spark that SweetS needed! Where to begin with Miichan? She’s the one that grew into a shinin’ star — and has truly been loved every step of the way. She was our shy wallflower that blossomed. She used to be so soft spoken and apprehensive about her actions. She never held back her talent, though. I think her voice was the most underrated of SweetS and that is partially due to her shyness. As time went on, she got bolder and she really shined in her solos. After SweetS, Miori decided to pursue an acting career… and actually succeeded! She’s become a very popular actress in Japan now, but we can never forget her amazing days in SweetS.

These five girls together really created the perfect unit, incomparable to any other. Where one member lacked, another had a strength. SweetS still remain in contact and are great friends even to this day, despite very busy schedules. Aya, Aki, and Haruna see each other frequently and all five girls keep in touch.

Even more, SweetS touched many lives of their dedicated fans. I’ve met so many amazing people through my fandom in SweetS and some of these will be lifelong friends. What did SweetS do for your life?

So, thank you to SweetS for being everything you were (and still, and always will be) to us! And thank you to all of the fans that still take the time to update yourselves on them. These five girls are loved, so very loved.