Name: Niigaki Risa (新垣里沙)
Nickname(s): Gakisan, Mamechan, Nini
Hello! Project Status: 2001-08-26: Member
Date of Birth: 1988-10-20
Age: 19 years, 2 months, 6 days old
Place of Birth: Kanagawa, Japan
Blood type: B
Surprise English Lessons: 2 Lessons
Morning Musume (5th gen) (2001-08-26 - present)
Happy 7 (2002 shuffle unit)
Tanpopo (3rd gen) (2002-09-?? - 2003-09-??)
7AIR (2003 shuffle unit)
Morning Musume Sakura Gumi (2003-09-?? - 2004-03-??)
H.P. All Stars (2004 shuffle unit)
Morning Musume Tanjou 10nen Kinentai (2006-12-11 - 2007-09-01)
Athena & Robikerottsu (2007-09-05 - present)
Niigaki was the runner-up for the 'Kiss Girl Audition' in becoming Tomy image girl before joining Morning Musume. She also appeared with the winner Hasegawa Ai in Tomy Karaoke Machine commercial.
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 2003, she was placed into Sakuragumi, which released two singles before also becoming inactive.
In early 2007, Niigaki was chosen to be a member of Morning Musume Tanjō 10-nen 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.
On June 1, 2007, following then-leader Miki Fujimoto's resignation from Morning Musume, Ai Takahashi replaced Fujimoto as leader, while Risa Niigaki took Takahashi's place as sub-leader.
Following Nozomi Tsuji's pregnancy announcement, Niigaki took over the role of Athena in the animation series Robby & Kerobby. In October of 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.