Ai Takahashi (born September 14, 1986) is a Japanese pop singer associated with Hello! Project, best known as the current leader of Morning Musume and former member of its popular subgroup, Mini Moni.
Ai Takahashi From > joined Morning Musume in 2001 as part of the group's fifth generation, along with Makoto Ogawa, Asami Konno, and Risa Niigaki. Her debut appearance with the group was on their single "Mr. Moonlight ~Ai no Big Band~", and her first appearance on a Morning Musume full-length release was their fourth studio album, the appropriately named 4th Ikimasshoi!. Her first appearance within a Hello! Project shuffle unit release was on the 2002 single "Shiawase Beam! Suki Suki Beam!" under the group name Happy 7.
In 2003, Takahashi replaced Mari Yaguchi in the Morning Musume spinoff group Mini Moni, first appearing in the group's movie Mini Moni ja Movie: Okashi na Daibōken! and its accompanying soundtrack. Her best-known nickname amongst non-Japanese fans, "Takitty", was derived from the cat suit (complete with tail) which she wears in the movie.
Later in 2003, she was part of the Morning Musume splinter group Morning Musume Sakuragumi, which performed mainly slower numbers on the group's two EPs, "Hare Ame Nochi Suki" and "Sakura Mankai", and the shuffle group 7Air, an R&B-inspired septet.