In Japan's J-Pop universe, AKB48 rules the roost. But AKB48 was created in 2005, almost a decade after the creation of Morning Musume.
Morning Musume came to be in 1997, and by 1998 it had subgroups. To compare, the youngest members of both AKB48 and Morning Musume today weren't even alive at the time. (The youngest member to ever participate in Morning Musume was 11 years old.)
Yes, Morning Musume still exists today, after releasing more than 50 singles in about 17 years. In fact, they are playing a concert in New York City in October!
I don't really hear anything about Morning Musume in Japan, though about 10 years ago they must have reached their peak popularity. I'm not sure if I've ever heard any of their songs, and really my interest in their cards is more because I was buying the lot of pop cards. It's fun to take a glimpse into J-Pop of 10 years ago, which is much more accessible than music of the 90s, 80s, or earlier.
Many of the goods I've seen seem to be dated around 2003. The cards below came from a lot I picked up a couple weeks ago. I'll do my best to describe them.
And for now, I'm just showing them - in the future, if I have time, I'll do some more detailed web searches to bring more information about these images.
The first three cards are unlabeled cards that are (most likely unlicensed) dual-sided bromides. I see cards like this fairly frequently for popular groups in both J-Pop and K-Pop.
The next couple of cards seem to be bromides as well, but possibly from a different set.
The next cards come from licensed sets released by Amada. I haven't done any research to try to figure out exactly what sets were released, but these don't match the majority of cards that seem to make up a certain set. The checkered set below has a 2002 copyright.
Finally, these are a set of stickers that tie in to a sweet snack called Pocky. I have three here, and each "card" has a few stickers on it, which is then attached to a backer card that seems to be some kind of mail in offer or contest.
I have some more Morning Musume cards that came in that lot, so (unfortunately?) stay tuned.