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Akb48 Becomes Best-Selling Singles Group in Japanese Entertainment History

Ara is a Journalism graduate from California State University Northridge who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

This is an outside view of the AKB48 Theater.

This is an outside view of the AKB48 Theater.

What Is the Significance of This Milestone By AKB48?

Those of you that enjoyed the article about former AKB48 member Megumi Ohori will definitely find this next story fascinating. Popular pop music group AKB48 has now become the best-selling singles group in Japan’s history! They did this on December 9, 2015. That was the day that the single Kuchibiru ni Be My Baby was released. The single ended up selling 813,044 copies in its first day of release. It took the #1 spot for that day. As of December 2015, the number of singles sold by AKB48 stands at 36,158,000. B’Z held this record with 35,809,000 copies sold before AKB48 surpassed them. AKB48 has released 42 singles in 9 years while B’Z has released 52 singles in 27 years. Note: as of October 2017, AKB48 has now been active for twelve years!

Why is AKB48's producer Yasushi Akimoto so important to the group and to the entertainment industry?

Yasushi Akimoto, the producer and “mastermind” behind AKB48 also has a reason to be very excited. With the release of Kuchibiru ni Be My Baby, he has become the first lyricist in Japanese history to reach the 100 million singles sold mark! Akimoto made his debut as a songwriter back in 1981. He has now reached 100,226,000 singles sold for the artists that he has written the lyrics for. Yu Aku is now in second place with 68,340,000 singles sold followed by Takashi Matsumoto, Komuro Tetsuya, and TSUNKU (producer of Morning Musume). Akimoto has also spent the most number of weeks at #1 on the singles chart as a songwriter with 129. He leads Koshi Inaba (54) and Takashi Matsumoto (47). The first single that Akimoto wrote the lyrics for is Momoko Kikuchi’s 1985 single “Sotsugyou GRADUATION.” His most recent lyrical contribution is HKT48’s Shekarashika! Other than AKB48, Akimoto’s bestselling singles acts are SKE48 (7,840,000), Nogizaka46 (5,968,000), NMB48 (5,614,000), and Tunnels (5,476,000).

Minami Takahashi on stage in 2015


"Iiwake Maybe" Song Only

A Perspective on This Record Breaking Milestone for AKB48

AKB48 still has a long way to go to become the bestselling Japanese artist ever. B’Z holds that record with over 80 million records sold. AKB48’s total is still less than half that number. But with the way that AKB48 keeps on setting records for their singles sold, I would say they have a great chance to become Japan’s highest selling musical group ever. AKB48 also ended up selling 962,000 copies of its album Tsugi no Ashiato in the first week of the album’s release. Tsugi no Ashiato would go on to sell over a million copies and become a huge commercial success. They have expanded with the creation of groups such as SNH48 and JKT48 so there is no reason for me to think that they wouldn’t become Japan’s best musical artist ever in terms of sales. Their songs are upbeat, fast, and exciting! Congratulations to the awesome girl group from Akihabara! Note: AKB48 released a new album called Thumbnail on January 25, 2017.

© 2016 Ara Vahanian

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