List of best-selling music artists in Japan

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The best-selling music artists in Japan include Japanese artists with claims of 15 million or more record sales. Japan is the second largest music market in the world behind the United States, and the biggest in Asia, according to International Federation of the Phonographic Industry.[1]

Sources that provide the sales an artist or record company claim via press release, rather than certified or reported by reliable third parties such as Oricon, are denoted by a "†".

Oricon Charts[edit]

Oricon provides accumulated physical sales of all entries on its singles and albums charts (started in 1968 and 1970, respectively).[2] Note that Oricon does not count sales of the records that did not enter or fell off of the charts, unlike Nielsen SoundScan. Therefore, it generally shows fewer numbers than reported sales via record labels, and may not reflect the real sales obtained by these artists. In addition, it excludes recording artists like Michiya Mihashi,[3] Yujiro Ishihara, Hibari Misora, and Hachiro Kasuga who had garnered most of commercial success before Oricon was established in the late 1960s.

The best-selling artists by number of singles sold are B'z (35.443 million) in first place, AKB48 (31.111 million) in second place,[4] Mr. Children (28.45 million) in third place,[5] and Southern All Stars (25.179 million) in fourth place.[6] Ayumi Hamasaki holds the record for being the best selling solo artist and being the only solo artist to sell more than 50 million in total.[7]

The list excludes sales of albums or singles recorded by artists in collaboration with others as part of a singular artist or group's total.

Artists by sales[edit]

50 million or more records[edit]

Artist Sales Genres Years active
B'z 81.46 million+[8][9] Hard rock / Pop rock / Blues rock 1988–present
Hachiro Kasuga 70 million†[10] Enka 1947–1991
Hibari Misora 68 million†[11] Kayōkyoku / Jazz / Enka 1945–1989
Mr. Children 58.42 million[8][9] Pop rock / Power pop / Progressive rock 1988–present
Ayumi Hamasaki 53 million+[12] Pop / Dance / Electronica / Rock 1998–present
Hikaru Utada 52 million†[13] Pop / R&B / Rock / Dance 1996–2011 (on hiatus)
Glay 51 million†[14] Pop rock / Power pop / Progressive rock 1988–present

30 million to 50 million records[edit]

Artist Sales Genres Years active
Southern All Stars 48.08 million Pop rock / Soft rock / Folk rock / Blues rock 1975–present
Dreams Come True 43.33 million Pop / new wave / R&B 1988–present
L'Arc-en-Ciel 40 million†[15] Alternative rock / Pop rock / Progressive rock 1991–present
Yumi Matsutoya[note 1] 39.30 million Pop / Rock / Jazz / Folk / Kayōkyoku 1968–present
Zard 37.45 million Pop rock 1991–2007
SMAP 34.48 million Bubblegum / R&B / Dance-pop / Electropop 1991–present
Namie Amuro 33.91 million R&B / Hip hop / Pop 1992–present
AKB48 35.3 million[16] Pop / Electropop / Dance-pop / Bubblegum 2005–present
Chage and Aska 31.40 million Folk rock / Pop rock 1979–2009, 2013–present
X Japan 30 million†[17][18] Heavy metal / power metal / speed metal 1982–1997, 2007–present
Arashi 30.00 + million Pop 1999–present

20 million to 30 million records[edit]

Artist Sales Genres Years active
Seiko Matsuda 29.64 million Pop / Kayōkyoku 1980–present
Globe 28.93 million Synthpop / Eurobeat / Trance 1995–present
KinKi Kids 25.68 million Pop 1993–present
Akina Nakamori 25.37 million Pop / Kayōkyoku 1982–present
Tube 24.55 million Pop rock / Power pop / Surf rock / Blues rock 1985–present
Exile 22.84 million Pop / Dance / R&B / House 2001–present
Every Little Thing 22.76 million Pop rock / Power pop / Soft rock 1996–present
Maki Ohguro 22.67 million Pop / new wave 1989–present
Masaharu Fukuyama 22.23 million Rock / Pop 1990–present
Miyuki Nakajima 21.96 million Folk / Rock / Kayōkyoku / Enka 1975–present
TRF 21.71 million Dance-pop / Eurobeat / R&B 1993–present
Morning Musume 21.59 million+ Dance-pop / Electropop / Teen pop / Bubblegum 1998–present
Tsuyoshi Nagabuchi 21.37 million Rock / Folk 1977–present
Noriyuki Makihara 20.83 million Pop 1990–present
Spitz 20.68 million Alternative rock / Power pop 1987–present

15 million to 20 million records[edit]

Artist Sales Genres Years active
Speed 19.55 million Pop / Dance / R&B / Hip hop 1996–present
Kome Kome Club 18.66 million+ Pop / Soul / Funk 1982–1997, 2006–present
Misia 17.99 million+ Pop / Soul / R&B / Dance 1998–present
Toshinobu Kubota 16.33 million+ R&B / Pop / Soul / Neo soul 1981–present
Kyosuke Himuro 16.25 million+ Rock / Pop 1988–present
Momoe Yamaguchi 16.22 million+ Pop 1973–1980
Yōsui Inoue 15.809 million Rock / Folk 1969–present
Hiromi Gō 15.805 million Pop / Kayōkyoku / R&B 1972–present
Kenji Sawada 15.71 million Pop / Rock 1969–present
Mai Kuraki 15.5 million+ Pop / R&B 1999–present
The Checkers 15.38 million Rock 'n' roll / Pop rock / Rockabilly / Doo-wop 1981–1992
Miki Imai 15.31 million+ Pop 1986–present
JUDY AND MARY 15.00 million Pop Rock 1992-2001

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Includes releases under her maiden name, Yumi Arai.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Smirke, Richard (2011-03-30). "IFPI 2011 Report: Global Recorded Music Sales Fall 8.4%; Eminem, Lady Gaga Top Int'l Sellers". billboard.biz. Retrieved 2012-02-05. 
  2. ^ Yamamoto, Takao (producer) (2012-01-13). "ミュージックステーション2時間スペシャル アーティスト総売上ランキング". Music Station (in Japanese). All-Nippon News Network. TV Asahi. 
  3. ^ 三橋美智也(みはしみちや). goo (in Japanese). 
  4. ^ "オリコン】AKB48、"女性初&史上最速"シングル3000万枚 通算20作目ミリオン". Oricon Style (in Japanese). Oricon. 2 December 2014. Retrieved 2 December 2014. 
  5. ^ "【オリコン】AKB48、女性初の20作目ミリオン シングル総売上枚数は歴代2位". Oricon Style (in Japanese). Oricon. 27 May 2014. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  6. ^ "【オリコン】AKB48、史上初の通算16作目ミリオン B’zの記録を13年ぶり更新". Oricon Style (in Japanese). Oricon. 17 December 2013. Retrieved 28 January 2014. 
  7. ^ http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/features/why-has-japans-cd-market-suddenly-gone-into-decline-9213133.html
  8. ^ a b 【オリコン】B'z、前人未到のシングル・アルバム通算8000万枚突破. Oricon. 2011-08-02. Retrieved 2012-02-02. 
  9. ^ a b CDアルバム 年間ランキング-ORICON STYLE ランキング [Oricon Year-end Albums - 2011]. Oricon. Disabling JavaScript may be required to view the archive due to a script pulling in new data from the site and redirecting you. Archived from the original on January 12, 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-02. 
  10. ^ Yomiuri Shimbun (Otemachi, Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan). 1991-10-23. p. 31.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. ^ "Hibari Misora, Japanese Singer, 52". The New York Times (Associated Press). 1989-06-25. 
  12. ^ "【オリコン】浜崎あゆみ、ソロ初の総売上5000万枚超え「ファンのみんなの記録". Oricon (in Japanese). 2012-08-15. Retrieved 2015-04-08. 
  13. ^ "Japanese superstar Utada Hikaru finds her way in the U.S.". The Seattle Times. 2010-01-16. Retrieved 2015-04-08. 
  14. ^ "GLAY、デビュー15周年の"特別な1年"の内容とは?". Barks.jp (in Japanese). 2009-01-05. Retrieved 2015-04-08. 
  15. ^ "L'Arc-en-Ciel, Japanese Visual Rock Band, To Play Madison Square Garden This Weekend". Billboard. 2012-03-23. Retrieved 2015-04-08. 
  16. ^ "【オリコン】AKB大島卒業曲で総売上3000万枚突破 女性グループ初の快挙" (in Japanese). 2014-01-06. Retrieved 2014-03-10. 
  17. ^ "X Japan Embark on Their First American Tour". Revolver. 2010-09-23. Retrieved 2015-04-08. 
  18. ^ "X Japan: They're huge (really), and they're (finally) coming to the U.S.". Chicago Sun-Times. 2010-08-01. Retrieved 2015-04-08. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Okamoto, Satoshi (2011). Single Chart Book: Complete Edition 1968-2010 (in Japanese). Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. ISBN 4-87131-088-4. 
  • Okamoto, Satoshi (2006). オリコン・アルバム・チャートブック(完全版): 1970~2005 [Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970-2005] (in Japanese). Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. ISBN 978-4-87131-077-2. 

External links[edit]

  • Yamachan Land (Japanese) — Japanese chart archives of selected best-selling artists (last updated December 2007)