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 AKB48 (36.1 million) in first place, B'z (35.8 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 86 million[8]

80 million[9]

Hard rock / Pop rock / Blues rock 1988–present
Mr. Children 54.9 million[9] Pop rock / Power pop / Progressive rock 1988–present
GLAY 51 million†[10] Pop rock / Power pop / Progressive rock 1988–present
Ayumi Hamasaki 50 million[11] Pop / Dance / Electronica / Rock 1998–present

30 million to 50 million records[edit]

Artist Sales Genres Years active
Southern All Stars 48.94 million Pop rock / Soft rock / Folk rock / Blues rock 1975–present
Dreams Come True 43.33 million Pop / new wave / R&B 1988–present
AKB48 41.45 million[12] Pop / Electropop / Dance-pop / Bubblegum 2005–present
L'Arc-en-Ciel 40 million†[13] Alternative rock / Pop rock / Post-punk 1991–present
Tomoyasu Hotei 40 million†[14] Rock 1988–present
Zard 37.45 million Pop rock 1991–2007
Hikaru Utada 36 million†[15] Pop / R&B / Rock / Dance 1996–2011 (on hiatus)
SMAP 35.18 million Bubblegum / R&B / Dance-pop / Electropop 1991–present
Namie Amuro 33.91 million R&B / Hip hop / Pop 1992–present
Chage and Aska 31.40 million Folk rock / Pop rock 1979–2009, 2013–present
Yumi Matsutoya[note 1] 30.8 million[16] Pop / Rock / Jazz / Folk / Kayōkyoku 1968–present
Arashi 30 million[17] 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 26.06 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 23.49 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
Morning Musume 22.47 million Dance-pop / Electropop / Teen pop / Bubblegum 1998–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
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
X Japan 20 million† Heavy metal 1982-1997
2007-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
Dragon Ash 15 million Alternative Rock / Hiphop / Punk Rock / Samba 1996–Present
Judy and Mary 15 million Pop rock 1992-2001
Kudo Shizuka 15 million Pop / Kayōkyoku 1987–Present

Best-selling artist sales by year[edit]

Year Artist Album Sales Single Sales Total Sales
1999 Hikaru Utada 7,365,830 5,383,770 12,749,600
2000 Ayumi Hamasaki 5,267,350 3,914,920 9,182,270
2001 Ayumi Hamasaki 5,311,950 5,067,910 10,379,860
2002 Hikaru Utada 3,526,780 2,410,990 5,667,770
2003 Ayumi Hamasaki 2,774,474 1,056,148 3,830,622
2004 Hikaru Utada 3,537,845 365,206 3,903,051
2005 Orange Range 3,479,539 2,242,257 5,721,796
2006 Koda Kumi 2,411,470 1,281,022 3,692,492
2007 Koda Kumi 1,318,072 534,035 1,852,107
2008 EXILE 4,363,967 678,458 5,042,425

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、シングル総売上日本一3615.8万枚 秋元氏総売上は1億枚突破". Oricon Style (in Japanese). Oricon. December 9, 2015. Retrieved December 25, 2015. 
  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. ^ Yang, Jeff (September 8, 2005). "ASIAN POP Hello Kitty! Rock! Rock!". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved April 23, 2014. 
  9. ^ 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. 
  10. ^ "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. 
  11. ^ "【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. 
  12. ^ "【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. 
  13. ^ "L'Arc-en-Ciel, Japanese Visual Rock Band, To Play Madison Square Garden This Weekend". Billboard. 2012-03-23. Retrieved 2015-04-08. 
  14. ^ "Tomoyasu Hotei's Debut International Album Release 'Strangers' out October 16 Through Spinefarm Records". Anime News Network. 2015-08-05. Retrieved 2015-08-05. 
  15. ^ "Japanese superstar Utada Hikaru finds her way in the U.S.". The Seattle Times. 2010-01-16. Retrieved 2015-04-08. 
  16. ^ "ミスチル、B'zとユーミンに続き全アルバム3000万枚を突破". Barks.jp (in Japanese). 2015-06-09. Retrieved 2015-11-29. 
  17. ^ "Total number of albums and singles sold by Arashi reaches 30 million copies". tokyohive.com. 2015-05-20. Retrieved 2015-11-29. 

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)