Name: 大谷雅恵 (Ohtani Masae)
Stage name: 大谷雅恵 aka ひまわり (Ohtani Masae aka Himawari)
Date of birth: February 25th, 1982
Place of birth: Miyazaki, Japan
Date of debut: August 10th, 1999 (Member #26)
Graduated: March 31st, 2009
Masae Ohtani is a Japanese singer, song writer and actress. She is sporadically releasing new songs, and promotes her music by holding live events at clubs.
She started her career winning a Hello! Project audition in 1999 with three other girls. They went on to form the group Melon Kinenbi, releasing their debut single in 2000.
Over the years, Ohtani participated in movies and TV series produced by UFA, but this was as a part of Melon Kinenbi. She also participated in the annual shuffle groups each year, with the exception of 2005.
In 2010 it was announced that the group would disband. When her contract expired, after the disbanding of the group, she started working in a cafeteria wanting to pursue a singing career. A few months later, she released a digital song («Killing My Caddy») available for download from a mobile site.
She started working at AKIHABARA Backstage pass as a dance- and vocal instructor. AKIHABARAバックステージpass is a café opened by Tsunku and Shikura Chiyomaru in December 2011 under their joint agency, Le:iDo Entertainment. The café is idol themed, where the maids are aspiring idols while the customers are the "producers". In total, Akihabara Backstage Pass is composed of over 100 current and former members. The members appear in TNX's Tsuntsube, and some may appear in gravure-related work. Some of the current and past members are from the idol groups Afilia Saga, Apple Tale, Lovely Doll, Doll Elements, C*Lover and THE Possible.
At her blog, she announced a competition for people to suggest new stage names for her. She ended up choosing the name «Himawari» (Sunflower), and released her 1st single «Killing My Caddy» under the name Ohtani Masae a.k.a. Himawari. Her 2nd single, called «Endless Love», was announced shortly afterwards and was released in February of 2011. A music video was also released.
Shortly after, in April, the announcement of her 3rd single was made. After the release of her third single, it seems that her contract expired.
She started making her own music, releasing indies singles (sold only at her live events). In 2014, she opened her own web shop, selling t-shirts, clear files, CDs and DVDs. It closed in 2016.
Her first DVD is called «Otani Masae Birthday Live Birthday + Payday = Everyone Togather«, and could be bought from the site for 3.000 yen.
03. ENDLESS LOVE
06. Killing My Caddy
In 2015 or early 2016, Ohtani joined a girl group called 4C CREW, using the stage name MELODY. They label themselves as Japan and Korea musical exchange artists, and are a dance crew. In the summer of 2016, Ohtani removed MELODY from her name on twitter as well as the info about her being in the group.
In spring, Ohtani teamed up with fellow ex-Melon Kinenbi member Megumi Murata, announcing they would hold a live event in the fall. They held several live events as aduo, and announced the release of their first single in March 2017. Their group name is Muratani Sisters (村谷姉妹; Muratani Shimai).