- Name: Niigaki Risa (新垣里沙)
- Nicknames: Gaki-san (ガキさん), Omame-chan (お豆ちゃん), Mame (マメ), Niinii (ニイニイ)
- Birthday: October 20, 1988
- Birthplace: Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan
- Blood type: B
- Height: 154.3 cm
- Skills: Hangul, tidying up, sending phone emails without looking at the buttons, self-styled Disney connoisseur
- Hobbies: Going to Disneyland
- Motto: If you open it, close it! Where there's hills, there's valleys.
- Favorite food: Ray [i.e. stingray, mantaray] fillet, Mickey waffles, plain grilled conger eel, parfait
- Favorite words: Do what you can to be considerate every day.
- Favorite colors: Yellow-green, white
- Hello! Project groups:
- Morning Musume (2001–2012)
- Tanpopo (2002)
- Happy 7 (2002)
- Morning Musume Sakuragumi (2003–2004)
- 7AIR (2003)
- H.P. All Stars (2004)
- Hello! Project Akagumi (2005)
- Wonderful Hearts (2006–2009)
- Morning Musume Tanjou 10nen Kinentai (2007)
- Athena & Robikerottsu (2007–2008)
- ZYX-α (2009–)
- Muten Musume (2010)
- Hello! Project Mobekimasu (2011–2012)
- Reborn Eleven (2011)
Niigaki Risa was selected from Love Audition 21 to join Morning Musume as a fifth generation member on August 26, 2001, along with Takahashi Ai, Konno Asami, and Ogawa Makoto. She made her debut appearance on the single "Mr. Moonlight ~Ai no Big Band~," and first appeared on the fourth studio album, "4th Ikimasshoi!". In the same year she also participated in the summer shuffle unit, "Happy 7" along with fellow 5th generation members, Takahashi Ai and Ogawa Makoto.
Prior to joining Morning Musume, Niigaki was a finalist out of 1,000 entrants in the "Kiss Girl Audition" to become the new Tomy image girl, held by TV Tokyo's "Oha Star" program. She appeared in a commercial for Tomy Karaoke Machine Kiss-site. (Niigaki later starred in a commercial for the same company as a part of Morning Musume). Additionally, she did some work as a magazine model since spring 2000.
In September 2002, the fifth generation members were placed into the Morning Musume subgroups, so Niigaki was added to the Tanpopo roster along with Konno Asami and participated in one single, "BE HAPPY Koi no Yajirobee."
Niigaki was placed in Morning Musume Sakuragumi in January 2003 and released two singles as a part of the group before it went inactive.
In March 2006, she became a member of the kickball team Metro Rabbits H.P.
At the beginning of 2007 Niigaki was placed into the special unit "Morning Musume Tanjou 10nen Kinentai". The unit consisted of 1st generation members Iida Kaori, Abe Natsumi, 3rd generation member Goto Maki, Niigaki and 7th generation member Kusumi Koharu, was created to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the formation of Morning Musume.
Niigaki replaced Tsuji Nozomi as the voice actress for the character of Athena in the anime Robby & Kerobby, due to Tsuji's maternity leave. In October of that year, Niigaki was then placed into the unit "Athena & Robikerottsu" along with 8th generation Morning Musume member Mitsui Aika and Nakajima Saki & Okai Chisato of °C-ute. The group released two songs before becoming inactive after to the ending of the anime.
On the 13th of December 2010, Risa hosted the FIVE STARS radio program with co-host Kamei Eri for the last time before Eri's graduation. Risa will host two more episodes before the show ends. A new radio show will take its place in the new year hosted by Risa and fellow 5th generation member Takahashi Ai.
On the 9th of January 2011, fellow 5th generation member Takahashi Ai announced that she would be graduating from the group at the end of their Autumn concert tour, thus Making Risa the new leader of the group and also the member with the longest tenure in the groups history.
On the 13th of April 2011 Risa along with 9th generation members Fukumura Mizuki, Ikuta Erina, Sayashi Riho & Suzuki Kanon took part in the first broadcast of Morning Musume's new internet show UstreaMusume. The show is aired on the ustream site to which Risa plays the host generally conversing with the new members while mentioning comments from the live audiences.
As of September 30th 2011 Niigaki has become the leader, and longest serving member, of Morning Musume and Hello! Project. She is the first member to join the group as the youngest member, and eventually become the group's leader.
At the beginning of the Hello! Project 2012 Winter concert tours, Niigaki announced her graduation from Morning Musume and Hello! Project, to take place at the end of the 2012 Morning Musume Spring concert tour. She announced her plans to concentrate on and study acting after her graduation.
On July 13, 2016, Niigaki and actor Kotani Yoshikazu registered their marriage with plans to have a wedding in the fall. Niigaki and Kotani officially announced their divorce in January 2018. On July 31, 2020 Niigaki announced through her blog her decision to leave J.P. ROOM and continue activities on her own. She stated she had been considering her next steps in life since she turned 30, and thanked Up-Front, Tsunku, Morning Musume, and her fans for their patience and support over so many years.
- [2012.05.31] Hello Cover Niigaki Risa (ハロカバ 新垣里沙)
- [2011.01.27] Hello Cover (ハロカバ)
- [2007.06.13] Alo Hello! Niigaki Risa DVD
- [2009.01.21] Alo Hello! 2 Niigaki Risa DVD
- [2010.07.14] Alo Hello! 3 Niigaki Risa DVD
- [2012.05.16] as it is
- [2011.05.31] Real Etude ~Takahashi Family to Niigaki Family DVD 1
- [2011.05.31] Real Etude ~Takahashi Family to Niigaki Family DVD 2
- [2011.05.31] Real Etude ~Takahashi Family to Niigaki Family DVD 3
- [2012.02.22] Real Etude ~ Minna no le Girl's STAGE
Compilations / Other
- [2002.03.27] Morning Musume - 4th "Ikimasshoi!" (#5 Otoko Tomodachi - Abe Natsumi with Takahashi Ai, Konno Asami, Ogawa Makoto, Niigaki Risa, #9 Densha no Futari - Abe Natsumi, Ishikawa Rika, Yoshizawa Hitomi, Kago Ai, Takahashi Ai, Konno Asami, Niigaki Risa, #11 Suki na Senpai - Takahashi Ai, Konno Asami, Ogawa Makoto, Niigaki Risa)
- [2003.03.26] Morning Musume - No.5 (#7 Tsuyoki de Yukouze! - Tsuji Nozomi, Kago Ai, Takahashi Ai, Konno Asami, Ogawa Makoto, Niigaki Risa)
- [2004.12.08] Morning Musume - Ai no Dai 6 Kan (#7 Lemon Iro to Milk Tea - Takahashi Ai, Konno Asami, Ogawa Makoto, Niigaki Risa, Fujimoto Miki, Kamei Eri, Michishige Sayumi, Tanaka Reina)
- [2006.02.15] Morning Musume - Rainbow 7 (#5 INDIGO BLUE LOVE - Niigaki Risa, Kamei Eri, Tanaka Reina)
- [2006.12.13] Morning Musume - 7.5 Fuyu Fuyu Morning Musume Mini! (#3 Yuki / Ai×Anata≧Suki - Takahashi Ai with MC GAKI, #5 Kotatsu no Uta ~jyuken story~ - Yoshizawa Hitomi, Niigaki Risa, Kamei Eri)
- [2007.03.21] Morning Musume - SEXY 8 BEAT (#9 Shanimuni Paradise - Takahashi Ai, Niigaki Risa, Fujimoto Miki, Tanaka Reina)
- [2008.11.26] Morning Musume - COVER YOU (#9 Machi no Akari - Takahashi Ai, Niigaki Risa, #13 Johnny e no Dengon - Niigaki Risa, Kamei Eri, Tanaka Reina)
- [2009.02.18] Morning Musume - Naichau Kamo (#2 Yowamushi - Niigaki Risa, Michishige Sayumi)
- [2009.03.18] Morning Musume - Platinum 9 DISC (#4 Take off is now! - Takahashi Ai, Niigaki Risa, Tanaka Reina, #9 Jounetsu no Kiss wo Hitotsu - Takahashi Ai, Niigaki Risa, Tanaka Reina)
- [2009.07.15] Hello! Project - Champloo 1 ~Happy Marriage Song Cover Shuu~ (#7 Mamotte Agetai - Niigaki Risa, Kamei Eri)
- [2010.03.17] Morning Musume - 10 MY ME (#6 Ano Hi ni Modoritai - Takahashi Ai, Niigaki Risa)
- [2011.10.12] Morning Musume - 12, Smart (#3 Silver no Udedokei - Tanaka Reina, Sayashi Riho; Rap: Niigaki Risa, Mitsui Aika, #6 Kono Ai wo Kasanete - Takahashi Ai, Niigaki Risa)
- [2012.04.11] Morning Musume - Renai Hunter (#3 Egao ni Namida ~THANK YOU! DEAR MY FRIENDS~)
- [2012.12.05] Hello! Project - Petit Best 13 (#11 Egao ni Namida ~THANK YOU! DEAR MY FRIENDS~)
- [2004.10.07] Niigaki Risa (新垣里沙) amazon.co.jp
- [2006.06.25] Amanatsu (あま夏) amazon.co.jp
- [2007.05.27] Isshun (一瞬) amazon.co.jp
- [2008.04.25] Happy girl amazon.co.jp
- [2010.07.14] Alo Hello! Niigaki Risa Photobook -MAHALO- (アロハロ！新垣里沙写真集-MAHALO-) amazon.co.jp
- [2012.04.27] ASCENSION
-  Tokkaekko (とっかえっ娘。)
-  Koinu Dan no Monogatari (子犬ダンの物語)
-  Honto ni Atta Kowai Hanashi 3D (ほんとうにあった怖い話3D)
-  Keitai Deka The Movie 3: Morning Musume Kyuushutsu Daisakusen! ~ Pandora no Hako no Himitsu~ (ケータイ刑事 THE MOVIE3 モーニング娘。救出大作戦！～パンドラの箱の秘密)
-  Watashi ga Aitsu ni Natta Toki... (私がアイツになった時･･･)
-  Tobidase Shinsengumi! (とびだせ新選組!)
-  Black Film (ブラック・フィルム)
- TV Dramas
-  Haikara-san ga Tooru (はいからさんが通る) (as Sumire)
-  Angel Hearts (エンジェールハーツ)
-  Ore ga Aitsu de Aitsu ga Ore de (おれがあいつであいつがおれで) (as Kawahara Keiko)
-  Hitmaker Aku Yu Monogatari (ヒットメーカー 阿久悠物語) (as Kei of Pink Lady)
-  Hanbun Esper (半分エスパー) (as Super Bus Guide Niigaki)
-  Suugaku♥Joshi Gakuen (数学♥女子学園)
-  Dai! Tensai Terebi-kun Dora Machigai (大!天才てれびくんドラまちがい)
-  Otona e Novel (オトナヘノベル)
- TV Programs
- [2001–2007] Hello! Morning (ハロー! モーニング。)
- [2002–2004] Tintin TOWN! (ティンティンTOWN!)
-  Soreyuke! Gorokkies (それゆけ!ゴロッキーズ)
-  Futarigoto (二人ゴト) (4 episodes)
-  Majokko Rika-chan no Magical v-u-den (魔女っ娘。梨華ちゃんのマジカル美勇伝)
-  Musume DOKYU! (娘DOKYU!)
- [2007–2008] Haromoni@ (ハロモニ@)
- [2008–2009] Yorosen! (よろセン!)
- [2010–2011] Bijo Gaku (美女学)
- [2011–2012] HELLOPRO! TIME (ハロプロ！ＴＩＭＥ)
- [2019–] CHANT! (チャント!)
- [2007–2008] Robby to Kerobby (ロビーとケロビー) (as Athena) (37 episodes)
-  Jewelincle ~12 no Yousei to Fushigina Houseki-Bako~ (JEWELINCLE じゅえりんくる〜12の妖精とふしぎな宝石箱〜)
- [2015–] Ponpon Pororo (ポンポン ポロロ) (as Nyao)
- [2002–2003] Tanpopo Henshubu OH-SO-RO! (タンポポ編集部 OH-SO-RO!)
- [2007–2008] GAKI KAME
- [2009–2010] FIVE STARS
- [2011–2012] Risa's NightHouse
-  NHK Gekiraji Live SP (Radio Drama; as Takigawa Kazuko)
-  Morning Town (モーニング・タウン)
-  Morning Musume Shuen Musical Edokko Chuushingura (モーニング娘。主演ミュージカル 江戸っ娘。忠臣蔵)
-  HELP!! Acchii Chikyuu wo Samasunda. (HELP!!熱っちぃ地球を冷ますんだっ。)
-  Ribbon no Kishi The Musical (リッボンの騎士ザ・ミュージカル) (as Nouveau)
-  Cinderella the Musical (シンデレラ the ミュージカル) (as the Prince)
-  Fashionable (ファッショナブル) (as Murata Miyuu)
-  Real Etude "Takahashi Family to Niigaki Family" (リアルエチュード『高橋さんと新垣さん家』)
-  Real-etude Minna no ie Girl's STAGE (リアルエチュード みんなの家 Girl's STAGE)
-  Reborn~Inochi no Audition~ (リボーン～命のオーディション～) (as Joan of Arc)
-  Sanada Juyushi ~Bokura ga Mamori Takatta Mono~ (真田十勇士～ボクらが守りたかったもの～) (as Yukino)
-  Minori (みのり)
-  Watashi no Atama no Naka no Keshigomu 5th letter (朗読劇 私の頭の中の消しゴム 5th letter) (Special Osaka Stage)
-  Stage Play "Tumbling" vol.3 (舞台「タンブリング」vol.3)
-  Dietrich Ikita Aishita Eien ni (ディートリッヒ 生きた 愛した 永遠に)
-  Seishun Ongaku Katsugeki "Kiben, Hashire Melos" (青春音楽活劇「詭弁・走れメロス」)
-  Kibako no Kai Dai Yonkai Kouen "Guitar wo Mochinagara" Yattaze! Honda Special!~ (キバコの会 第四回公演『ギターを待ちながら』〜やったぜ! 本多スペシャル!〜)
-  Zettai Kareshi. (絶対彼氏。)
-  TOKUGAWA15
-  Taklamakan (タクラマカン)
-  Watashi no Atama no Naka no Keshigomu 5th letter (朗読劇 私の頭の中の消しゴム 5th letter)
-  Satsujinki Fujiko no Shoudou (殺人鬼フジコの衝動)
-  Destiny (デスティニー)
-  Onna, Hito Urei (オンナ、ひと憂。)
-  Shiritsu Hasuhasu Jogakuin!! (私立ハスハス女学院!!)
-  Uchouten Kazoku (有頂天家族)
-  Anta Jutte Motta? (あんた十手もった?)
-  BACK STAGE
-  The Kaidan Alps Ichiman Jaku Final (The Kaidan アルプス一万尺 Final)
-  SONG OF SOULS -Keichou Genma Senki- (SONG OF SOULS -慶長幻魔戦記-)
-  Kurukuru to Shi to Shitto (くるくると死と嫉妬)
-  Taki Rentaro no Yuujin, to Chijin to Sonohoka no Moromoro (瀧廉太郎の友人、と知人とその他の諸々)
-  Satsujinki Fujiko no Shoudou (殺人鬼フジコの衝動)
-  Hoshi no Koe (ほしのこえ)
-  Shinpan Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura (新版・義経千本桜)
-  Lizzy Borden Jiken (リジー・ボーデン事件) (as Lizzy Borden)
-  Maboroshi no Jou ~Sengoku no Utsukushiki Kyouki~ (幻の城 〜戦国の美しき狂気〜)
-  Soshuu Yakyoku (蘇州夜曲)
-  Hoshikuzu no Machi ~ Kanketsu-hen (星屑の町～完結篇)
-  Akatsuki no Yona (暁のヨナ) (as Yona)
-  Cherry Boys (チェリーボーイズ)
-  Kiben Hashire Melos (詭弁・走れメロス)
-  Sin of Sleeping Snow
-  Tenkyuugi THE SPHERE (天球儀 THE SPHERE)
-  And so this is Xmas
-  Tsuki no Kodomo the Musical (月の子供 the Musical)
-  Hoshizora Rock (星空ロック)
-  Kengo Shogun Yoshiteru (Zenpen) (剣豪将軍義輝 (前編))
-  Hotoke no Iroha (ほとけのいろは)
-  Minna, Cinderella ga Yaritai. (皆、シンデレラがやりたい。)
-  Romancing SaGa THE STAGE (ロマンシング サガ THE STAGE) (as Sarah Carson)
-  Nemurenu Yoru no Honky Tonk Blues Dai San Shou ~Kakusei~ (眠れぬ夜のホンキートンクブルース第三章〜覚醒〜)
-  Risako no Gachikoi ♡ Haiyuu Numa (りさ子のガチ恋♡俳優沼)
- Love Audition 21 audition songs:
- Niigaki was born and raised in Yokohama in Kanagawa Prefecture dispelling in her blog, the long time thought that she was born in Kagoshima. Her grandparents are from Okinawa.
- Morning Musume producer Tsunku said he chose Niigaki because she "shined during the final studio recording".
- Niigaki's original nickname, "Omame," was given to her by Yaguchi Mari shortly after Niigaki joined Morning Musume; mame means "bean," and it supposedly referred to Niigaki's small body and face. She was later given the nickname "Gaki-san" by Okamura Takashi during the Mechaike Bakajo Kimatsu Test; gaki means "kid" or "brat," making the nickname a pun on the fact that she was the youngest member of Morning Musume at the time. In the years since then, "Gaki-san" (usually pronounced "Gakksan") has become her most frequently used nickname among both the fans and the other members of the group, although some graduated members still call her "Mame-chan."
- Only Goto Maki calls her "Nii Nii".
- Has stated that she has excellent vision and that she can clearly see the faces of the audience in the very back row of a performance hall, as well as on the second and third floors.
- Her trademark "Mayuge Beam" ("Eyebrow Beam") move is derived from the "Sexy Beam" move from "Koi no Dance Site". Niigaki has said that her favorite part of her face are her eyebrows.
- Her official Morning Musume image color was yellow-green. This was then passed on to Ikuta Erina.
- Calls her grandmother "Baba-chan."
- Was a big fan of Morning Musume before joining the group, and even collected bromides and telephone cards.
- Named Abe Natsumi as the member she admired the most. Stated in Ongaku Senshi MUSIC FIGHTER that when she was young asked her mother to cut her hair like Abe's which made her looked like Gegege no Kitaro instead, leaving her traumatized.
- Is close friends with Takahashi Ai and Kamei Eri.
- She holds several milestones within Morning Musume. She has the longest tenure as a member of the group, and has participated in the most number of Morning Musume singles, with 37 (Renai Hunter).
- She was the youngest member of Morning Musume to become sub-leader, at only 18.
- She is allergic to pollen.
- Her shoe size is 37.
- Has said that the song that gets her fired up at concerts is "HOW DO YOU LIKE JAPAN? ~Nihon wa Donna Kanji Dekka?~" and the song that fits her perfectly is "Shanimuni Paradise".
- These are her opinions of the characters of the other Morning Musume members:
- These are the other members' opinions on Niigaki's character:
- Takahashi: Reliable person.
- Kamei: Sparkling!!
- Michishige: Nice!!
- Tanaka: Reliable.
- Kusumi: Reliable.
- Mitsui: Reliable.
- Junjun: Hardworking.
- Linlin: Green princess.
- Has said her favorite Morning Musume PV is the one for "Nanchatte Renai".
- She said on her blog that she loved all the members of Super Junior, but her favorite was Lee Donghae.
- People who have said look up to Gaki or are a fan of hers include: Ikuta Erina, Sato Masaki, Oda Sakura, Miyamoto Karin, Sekine Azusa, Okai Asuna