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The AKB48 logo has become a ubiquitous logo in Japan.

Oricon has announced that the popular Japanese idol group AKB48 has finally climbed to the top, becoming the leader of the singles all-time sales chart for any female group.

Since AKB48 debuted in 2006, the idol group has released 25 singles and has sold more than 11,787,000 copies. This bested the previous record of 11,774,000 copies held by Morning Musume.

Morning Musume


The many generations of Morning Musume have contributed to their high CD sales.

Before AKB48 broke their record, Morning Musume sold 11,774,000 copies of their 56 singles released over a period of 13 years.


Only a sampling of some Morning Musume CDs.

Hamasaki Ayumi

Hamasaki Ayumi, or Ayu as she is usually called by fans, is considered one of Japan’s foremost female idols and pop princesses.

Since her 1998 debut with the single “Poker Face”, Hamasaki has sold over 53,000,000 records in Japan, ranking her among the best-selling singers in the country. As a female singer, Hamasaki holds several domestic records for her singles, such as the most number-one hits overall by a female artist, the most consecutive number-one hits by a solo artist, and the most million-sellers. Since 1999, Hamasaki has had at least one single each year topping the charts…


Arashi is consistently at the top of charts for single, album and DVD sales.

Since their debut, Arashi has sold over 26 million copies of their albums and has had 3 albums certified by the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ) as million-sellers.

Japanese idol group Arashi’s new album “Love” is the world’s best-selling album selling 670.000 copies in its first week at retail, according to Oricon. Sales have already exceeded those of B’Z’s greatest hits Album “B’z The Best XXV 1988-1998” which debuted at No.1 after selling 579,000 copies.


SMAP’s popularity as one of the most famous Japanese male idol groups has kept them in the high end of sales numbers.

SMAP released their first CD in 1991 and has since released over forty singles and twenty albums. Approximately half the singles and a third of the albums have reached the top of the Japanese Oricon music charts.

In 2003, Noriyuki Makihara wrote and composed SMAP’s 2003 single “Sekai ni Hitotsu Dake no Hana” (世界に一つだけの花, “The One and Only Flower in the World”). The single sold more than 2.57 million copies and became the ninth best-selling single in Japan in Oricon history.



EXILE has also produced several sub-groups, including the recently popular E-girls.

To date, EXILE has had several million-seller albums, even exceeding the 2 million mark for 3 of their releases.

Multi-talented 14-member “boy” band Exile’s 41st official single, “EXILE PRIDE ~Konna Sekai wo Aisuru Tame,” has reached the 1-million sales mark on the Oricon singles ranking chart. The single was first released on April 3.

This is the first Exile single to reach the one million mark on the Oricon charts and is the first time in over six years that a male artist has ranked so high…

KinKi Kids

The KinKi Kids, named after a region of Japan, were extremely popular in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

The two men comprising KinKi Kids were handpicked by the management, educated by Johnny’s, and then unleashed upon Japan, first as actors and then as pop singers, whose sweet tunes wooed enough teen girl fans to bring them a place in The Guinness Book of World Records for their chart achievements.

The record they currently hold, which is certified by the Guinness Book of World Records, is called, “Most Consecutive #1 Singles Since Debuting”, and they broke it once again with their latest release.

Amuro Namie

Like Hamasaki Ayumi, Amuro Namie is seen as one of Japan’s most influential female musician.

Amuro Namie, originally from Okinawa, has had several million-seller albums, including 2- and 3-million sellers.

Amuro Namie’s 10th original album, “FEEL” (released July 10), has sold 248,000 copies in the first week, topping Oricon’s album ranking for the week of July 22nd.

With this, she has topped the album ranking 6 consecutive times and 11 times total. As for first week sales, “FEEL” has surpassed Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s album, “Nanda Collection” (released June 26), which sold 126,000 copies. She now holds the title of best first week sales in 2013 for a solo artist.

Matsuda Seiko

The Japanese media have taken to calling Matsuda Seiko the “eternal idol.”

CBS-Sony gambled on the newly named Matsuda Seiko with a huge 70 million yen campaign that included her face and debut single on a TV commercial spot. Sales of over a quarter of a million copies for that single alone and revenue of over 8 billion yen in her first year proved the gamble to be a wise one.

During her peak, and the heyday of the idols, in the ’80s Matsuda racked up an amazing 24 consecutive No. 1 singles.

Yamaguchi Momoe

Yamaguchi Momoe was also a successful actress.

Momoe Yamaguchi (山口 百恵 Yamaguchi Momoe, born 17 January 1959) is a former Japanese singer, actress, and idol whose career lasted from 1972 to 1980. Often simply referred to by her given name, “Momoe”, Yamaguchi was one of the most successful singers in Japanese music in her day, releasing 32 singles, including three number one hits, and 21 albums. She also starred in 15 feature films and several serial dramas on television.

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