Name: 村田めぐみ (Murata Megumi)
Stage name: ムラタメグミ (Murata Megumi)
Date of birth: March 3rd, 1981
Place of birth: Miyagi, Japan
Date of debut: August 10th, 1999 (Member #24)
Graduated: March 31st, 2009
Megumi Murata is a Japanese singer and actress. She started her career as a member of the group Melon Kinenbi in 2000, and was part of the group until it’s disbandenment in 2010.
Megumi Murata 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; Murata being one of them.
Megumi Murata and the three other girls were put in a group which was named Melon Kinenbi, releasing their debut single in February 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 Murata 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 third place with total sales of 202.660 copies.
The shuffles became an annual thing (up until 2005), and 2002 was no exception. This year Murata was put in the group Odoru11. They released a single with a quirky sound inspired by the traditional Japanese ondo style, accompanied by weird lyrics and a strange promotional video. Their single, «Shiawase Kyouryuu Ondo» (Happy Dinosaur Ondo), sold 72.070 copies, placing them third.
UFA started releasing a bunch of children’s songs albums in 2002, entitled doyou pops. The albums were themed according to the season, and Murata participated on five 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 this year, with promotional videos for some of the songs.
For the shuffles in 2003, Murata 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». 11WATER’s song is called «BE ALL RIGHT!», in which Murata sang three words.
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. Murata 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. The following year, she starred in the internet dorama Takaramono alongside Natsumi Abe. It was later released on DVD and Abe even put out a single from the dorama.
Over the years Murata participated in movies and tv series produced by UFA, but this was as a part of Melon Kinenbi. After Melon Kinenbi called it quits, Megumi re-signed her contract with UFA and continued as a talento for a short while.
In March of 2011, a big earthquake, and a tsunami to follow, wrecked havoc in many coastal cities in Japan. Murata’s home town was one of the cities that suffered the most. She lost everything, but her family survived. I guess this hit her pretty hard mentally, because on March 31st, 2011 she announced she would leave showbusiness. Shortly after her blog was taken down.
She was out of the spotlight for almost five years, but in 2016 she started becoming more active on twitter and announced at the beginning of the year that she was to hold a live event with fellow ex-Melon Kinenbi member Masae Ohtani in the fall. They sang six songs; two cover songs in English, as well as covering Taiyou to Ciscomoon, Max, and two of their own songs from Melon Kinenbi (Eros and Denwa Matteimasu).
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).