The first "Michiyo Heike & Morning Musume Imotōbun Audition" took place, resulting in the "second generation" of Morning Musume to be added, made up of Sayaka Ichii, Mari Yaguchi and Kei Yasuda. The first shuffle units were formed in March 2000, releasing the "theme" of Hello! Between April and June 2002, the first, and to date only, Hello! These auditions resulted in the future members of Japanese idol groups Berryz Kobo and C-ute, who would go on to debut in March 2004 and February 2007 respectively, also spawning offshoot auditions such as auditions for Hello! Project began, which was referred to as "Haromageddon" (a pun on Hello (ハロー, Harō) and Armageddon (ハルマゲドン, "Harumagedon")) and "the 7/31 incident" by fans.In January 1999, auditions for Country Musume were held on "Idol o Sagase! In April of that year the girls' official fan club was renamed "Hello! In February 2006, former Morning Musume member and sub-leader of duo W, Ai Kago was caught smoking in public while underage. Kago was suspended from her activities and eventually began to attempt a return. Her contract was terminated and she had no graduation ceremony, as had become standard for exiting members.
Konno became the first person to have graduated from Hello! In October, Tsunku established a new unit, the Nice Girl Project! In February 2007, Cute officially debuted with the single Sakura Chirari. Project started the Taiwanese "Morning Family New Star Audition"; an audition aimed at recruiting new Taiwanese members to join Hello! In September it was announced that, as a result of the Taiwanese auditions, the group Ice Creamusume 2008 also marked the first time in a decade that Morning Musume had not performed at the annual Kōhaku Uta Gassen event, after ten consecutive appearances. Project member to appear on that year's show was Mai Satoda, marking the first appearance of a member of Country Musume. Project would begin a series of auditions in South Korea.—featuring 21 groups and 72 members.
, as well as The Possible, a group made up of Hello! Soon after, Maki Goto, who had been inactive for some time, graduated from Hello! Former Morning Musume member Nozomi Tsuji performed in her first official event in a year and nine months, after marrying actor Taiyō Sugiura in June 2007 and giving birth to her daughter, Noa, that November. Project leader Yuko Nakazawa passed her leadership position to Morning Musume leader Ai Takahashi.
The girls sold the required number of copies in four days, and subsequently became an official group.
Morning Musume's debut single, "Morning Coffee," was released on January 28, 1998 on the One Up Music label and charted at #6 on the Oricon weekly chart. In March 2001, Morning Musume co-founder and leader Yuko Nakazawa announced her graduation from the group.
These groups became a new concert unit, "Champloo".