Name: 斉藤瞳 (Saitou Hitomi)
Date of birth: October 31st, 1981
Place of birth: Niigata, Japan
Date of debut: August 10th, 1999 (Member #25)
Graduated: March 31st, 2009
Hitomi Saitou was a Japanese singer and actress, and is now working as a radio host and talento. She started her career as a member of the group Melon Kinenbi in 2000, and was a member until their disbandenment in 2010. A few months later, she married comedian Jirou Hachimitsu and retired from show business. At their wedding, Saito cut a melon instead of a wedding cake!
Hitomi Saito sent in an application for the 2nd Morning Musume & Heike Michiyo Protegee Audition in the spring of 1999. The purpose of the audition was to find aspiring girls, wanting to become singers as part of Hello! Project. Everything was shown on the tv show ASAYAN, and out of 4.000 people, 4 girls were chosen; Saito being one of them.
She, and the three other girls, were put in a group which was named Melon Kinenbi, and they released their debut single in February of 2000.
In the summer of 2001, Tsunku shuffled all the artists he managed under Hello! Project. He split all the artist into three groups, and Saitou ended up in the 10nin group 10nin Matsuri. The whole purpose of the shuffling and three groups was to see which group would sell the most singles. 10nin Matsuri ended up in 3rd place with total sales of 202,660 copies.
UFA started releasing a bunch of children’s songs albums in 2002, entitled doyou pops. The albums were themed according to the season, and Saitou participated on several of these albums. At the end of the year, a DVD entitled "Hello! Project Douyou Eizou shuu Ponkikies 21" was released. It is a DVD accompaning all the doyou pops albums released that year, with promotional videos for some of the songs.
For the shuffles in 2003, Saito was put in the group 11WATER with ten of the other girls in H!P. This year Tsunku made a big change (a trend that continued for the rest of the years there were shuffles), 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». Tsunku also created one-shot groups around this time. They are groups which only release a few singles and are created for special reasons. This year, Tsunku created the group ROMANS in association with a tv-show called «Sexy Onna Jyuku». They released one single called «Sexy Night -Wasurerarenai Kare-.»
This year she also released her first and only photobook, called 斉藤瞳 («Saitou Hitomi»).
In 2004, there were no shuffles in the summer, instead, in December, Tsunku made an all-star group of all the members in Hello! Project, which at this time was over 50 girls. Saito 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.
Over the years she also participated in movies and tv series produced by UFA, but this was as a part of Melon Kinenbi.
Saito continued as a member of Melon Kinenbi all the way up to their disbandenment in May 2010. A few months later, she married comedian Jirou Hachimitsu and retired from show business. The couple filed for divorce just a year after they got married.
She is currently hosting her own radio show working as a talento.