Name: 谷原絢香 (Tanihara Ayaka)
Maiden name: 木村絢香 (Kimura Ayaka)
Stage names: 長手絢香 (Nagate Ayaka), ココナッツ娘。アヤカ (Coconuts Musume Ayaka), アヤカ (AYAKA)
Date of birth: October 30th, 1981
Place of birth: Kobe, Japan
Date of debut: June 27th, 1999 (Member #17)
Graduated: April 30th, 2008
Ayaka Tanihara (from now on referred to as Ayaka Kimura) is a Japanese singer and actress. She started her career as a member of the group Coconuts Musume in 1999, from which she graduated in 2008. She took a break from showbusiness in 2011 to take care of her child, and she is now doing acting jobs sporadically.
In 1999, Ayaka Kimura and four other girls had been signed by Tsunku and Makoto to join Hello! Project. They were flown to Japan to start a music career, and was given the name Coconuts Musume.
In the spring of 2000, Tsunku decided to shuffle all the artists he managed under Hello! Project. He split all the artist into three groups, and Ayaka ended up in the 5nin group Kiiro5 with Natsumi Abe, Kei Yasuda, RuRu and Michiyo Heike. The whole purpose of the shuffling and three groups was to see which group would sell the most singles. Kiiro5 ended up in second place, with total sales of 525.000 copies. The whole shuffling would become an annual thing, and in 2001 Ayaka ended up in 7nin matsuri. They released a reagge-inspired pop song called «Summer Reggae Rainbow» and ended up in second place selling 226,190 copies.
In addition to being in Coconuts Musume, Ayaka started hosting small segments on the tv show Hello! Morning in 2001, called «Ayaka no Totsugeki Eikaiwa» («Ayaka’s Surprise English Lesson»). In the small segments, she surprised random Morning Musume members and forced them to learn English phrases with her.
In 2002, Ayaka released an essay book with fellow member Mika Todd. It is called «Coconuts Musume. no Tanoshii Hawaii Ryuugaku» («Coconuts Musume’s Fun Studying in Hawaii»), in which they discuss various aspects of living and studying in Hawaii.
The following year Ayaka released her first and only photo book, simply called «AYAKA», In 2002.
Tsunku made a big change with the Morning Musume sub-groups Tanpopo and Pucchimoni. He graduated it’s excisting members and added new ones; and Ayaka became a member of Pucchimoni.
This year she would also be one of the members of the shuffle group SEXY8. Their single, «Shiawase Desu ka?» («Are You Happy?»), sold 101.870 copies putting them in second place.
For the shuffles in 2003, Tsunku made a big change, as there would be no competition to see who sold the most singles. The three songs from the three groups were on the same single, with everyone singing on the b-side «Oh! Be My Friend». Ayaka was a part of the group 11WATER, and their song is called «BE ALL RIGHT!».
Ayaka has also hosted a few radio shows:
In 2004 to 2007, she hosted Hello! Music Resort. The following year the radio show was re-titled to Hello! Music Latte. In 2005 she hosted BLEND KISS with Mai Satoda until it was cancelled later the same year. She also hosted COCONUT KISS for six months in 2006.
In December of 2004, Tsunku made an all-star group of all the members in Hello! Project, which at this time was over 50 girls. Ayaka was a part of this group, which was given the name H!P All Stars. Their single, «ALL FOR ONE AND ONE FOR ALL», sold 61.440 copies.
In 2006, she started acting. Her first job was the theater play «Otona no Mugicha», followed by «Kotobuki Coffee». The following year she was in the play «Chigaimasu Sisters», also starring Morning Musume’s Kei Yasuda.
In 2006 and 2007 Ayaka had regular appereances on the Hello! Project cover song show Uta Doki! Pop Classics.
On April 30th, 2008, Ayaka graduated from Hello! Project to pursue an acting career. The next day (!) she signed a contract with Tristone Entertainment and changed her name to Ayaka Nagate. Since her graduation and joining Tristone she has only done one acting job, a role in the tv-drama «Yume wo Kanaeru Zou».
In July of 2008 Ayaka married Hideto Tanihara, a professional golfer, and changed her name to Ayaka Tanihara. Three years later, Ayaka announced through her blog that she was pregnant, giving birth in late 2011. She took a break from show business to take care of her family, still signed to her agency.
Since 2014, she has appeared in several minor roles in television dramas, stage plays and movies like Oie-san, Tokyo Scarlet - Keishichou NS-gakari, Tokyo Vaudeville Show and Shinjuku Swan II.