In a surprise announcement today, Country Girls revealed a new system for the group following the graduation of player manager Tsugunaga Momoko. Members Morito Chisaki, Yanagawa Nanami, and Funaki Musubu will move to another Hello! Project group and carry out activities there concurrently with their activities in Country Girls.
The motivation for this concurrency seems to be an anticipated decrease in activity from Country Girls founding members Yamaki Risa and Ozeki Mai. The two members mentioned will focus on their studies yet remain members of the Country Musume revival group.
The final performance for the current 6-nin lineup of Country Girls will be the “Momoko Tsunaga Last Live ♥Arigatou Otomomochi♥” on June 30. Following Tsugunaga Momoko’s graduation from Hello! Project, the 5-nin Country Girls will participate in the “Hello! Project 2017 SUMMER ～HELLO！MEETING～/～HELLO！GATHERING～” starting on July 15..
Consequently, Country Girls will mainly hold their activities during school holidays and long vacations. During the rest/most of the year, Chisaki, Nanami, and Musubu will carry out activities for their new group(s). No word has been given as to which group the three girls will be added or whether they will be added to an existing group(s) or new group(s).
As for new music from the Country Girls, the group will continue to release new material, but new Country Girls music will likely receive a digital release only.
Country Girls began in 2014 as a revival of Country Musume. The original Country Girls members: Yamaki Risa, Inaba Manaka, Morito Chisaki, Shimamura Uta, and Ozeki Mai, were revealed on the November 5, 2014 episode of Hello! Station. The group released their major re-debut “Itooshikutte Gomen ne / Koi Dorobou” on March 25 and reached 3rd in the Oricon Weekly Ranking.