Sayumi Michishige is a sixth generation member and current leader of the J-pop group Morning Musume and Hello! Project leader as of 2012. On October 12, 2013, Michishige became the longest tenured member in Morning Musume history, passing Niigaki's mark.
She joined Morning Musume in 2003 along with Eri Kamei, Miki Fujimoto and Reina Tanaka, which all made their debuts with Morning Musume in the group's nineteenth single, "Shabondama". When Michishige passed the audition to join Morning Musume, Tsunku, Morning Musume's producer, commented that her singing was weak. After the audition, Michishige took voice lessons to improve her singing, but even she admits that her own singing is still bad. In 2005 she was assigned as mentor to 7th generation member Koharu Kusumi, until Kusumi's graduation in December 2009. Michishige was also a member of the Hello! Project unit Ecomoni, along with former Morning Musume member Rika Ishikawa.
She portrays an extremely narcissistic image of herself in TV shows, often calling herself the cutest member in Morning Musume and saying that her cuteness overwhelms her bad singing voice. In one of the skits known as Hello! Morning Theatre on their variety show, Hello! Morning, she frequently played a character known as "Ichiban Kawaii" (Cutest).
After Tanaka's graduation, Michishige has the chance to be the longest Morning Musume member in the group's history, breaking Niigaki's record. On October 12, 2013, Michishige became the longest tenured member in Morning Musume history, passing Niigaki's mark.