Nikkei Entertainment Releases Its Top 20 Girl Group Ranking for 2015

Every year, Nikkei Entertainment magazine releases its “Talent Power Ranking” lists. There are several lists for things such as actors, musicians, athletes, and so on, as well as an overall Top 100 ranking. These lists are created from surveys that are conducted by an independent marketing research firm earlier in the year. They assign a “talent power score” to each entity. This score is based on 2 things: familiarity (the number of survey respondents able to recognize the entity by name and face) and interest level (the number of survey respondents saying that they’d like to see/hear/know more about the entity).

With that being said, we now have the ranking for the top 20 girl groups. Perfume retains their spot at the top. The top 4 actually is the same as 2014, with Momoiro Clover Z, AKB48, and E-girls trailing Perfume, respectively. This year also sees BABYMETAL debuting on the list, with Team Syachihoko,, and Juice=Juice cracking the top 20.

See the full top 20 list after the jump!

1. Perfume: 27.8 (Last year: #1 with 30.4)

2. Momoiro Clover Z: 21.4 (Last year: #2 with 25.0)

3. AKB48: 20.4 (Last year: #3 with 21.5)

4. E-girls: 18.4 (Last year: #4 with 14.0)

5. Nogizaka46: 11.4 (Last year: #6 with 10.1)

6. NMB48: 10.8 (Last year: #5 with 10.6)

7. HKT48: 10.5 (Last year: #8 with 9.2)

8. SKE48: 8.2 (Last year: #7 with 9.5)

9. Flower: 7.7 (Last year: #10 with 6.5)

10. Morning Musume. ’15: 6.8 (Last year: #8 with 9.2)

11. Fairies: 5.5 (Last year: #12 with 5.6)

12. C-ute: 5.5 (Last year: #17 with 3.7)

13. Shiritsu Ebisu Chuugaku: 4.5 (Last year: #16 with 3.9)

14. BABYMETAL: 4.1 (debuted on the list this year)

15. SUPER GiRLS: 3.8 (Last year: #15 with 4.5)

16. Team Syachihoko: 3.7 (Last year: #22 with 2.4)

16. 3.7 (Last year: #21 with 2.4)

18. Idoling!!!: 3.7 (Last year: #18 with 4.8)

19. Juice=Juice: 2.9 (Last year: #23 with 2.3)

20. Babyraids Japan: 2.3 (Last year: #19 with 3.2)

  • Comments

    • This isn’t based on sales before anyone brings up sales.

      • surfboardt

        If anything, I think it’s very telling that about the rankings based on the criteria. You’d imagine that AKB48 would still be highly recognizable by name and face (Unless they used unknown girls), so that speaks volume about the other criteria (Interest) if they’re #3 with a declining score while the one below them (E-Girls) has a giant increase compared to last year.

      • Goo

        The source please?
        I think they’ve published other rankings, not just the girl groups categories.. Like the main talent power rankings and actors/actresses ranking. Will you be posting those too?


          In time. I have to translate everything. I’ll probably do it tomorrow evening.

          • Goo

            Thank you! I saw the actors ranking but not all of the names are translated.

      • ExileQuestions

        Then what is it based on? Couldn’t be popularity or youtube views.

        • It’s explained in the first part of the article. It’s a mixture of familiarity and interest. I said this isn’t about sales because I’ve seen too many of these things turn into fanwars because so and so sells less but they’re ranked higher.

        • Goo

          Not all talents has official youtube accounts. Its a fax survey (btw, Japan use fax for formal correspondent). Some of the sample questions are available here:

          • ExileQuestions

            Sounds like companies made bids for positions.

            • Goo

              Why do you think so?
              Nikkei is a pretty legit company. I don’t think they’ll mess around with the data. Also it makes sense that people recognize Perfume 3nin members than an army of akP girls. That’s how the questionaire was set up. Akb48 has topped this survey during their peak but only once I think.

              • Yeah, I would take what Nikkei says since their year end chart uses Soundscan as opposed to the gimmick-inflated Oricon.

              • ExileQuestions

                I think Nikkei is very legit.

                • Goo

                  And then why you said companies bids for position? The survey result is pretty legit. The survey itself seemed to be conducted pretty meticulously. I don’t think the survey was rigged. Nikkei wouldn’t publish it if the source wasn’t legit.
                  It seems some of you guys are just trying to disprove the results because your favs are not ranked in better positions. Is it so hard to believe that groups like Perfume or Arashi has a higher probability of being loved by most Japanese people?

        • starlightshimmers

          YouTube views are irrelevant in Japan, which is why most J-pop artists don’t even have an account. Japan has a completely different music industry separate from the rest of the world.

          • ExileQuestions

            So they base it off ticket sales?

            • starlightshimmers

              It’s based on a poll. People were asked what they thought about artists based on familiarity and interest. For example, Perfume being the #1 girl group isn’t that surprising considering they have a lot of commercial endorsements and they’ve been around for years. Airplay is also irrelevant in Japan. People in Japan don’t usually listen to the radio for music.

              Other ways of analysing popularity in Japan which are not used in the poll are karaoke rankings (based on which songs are popular at the karaoke bars) and ringtone rankings (teens and young adults are more likely to buy ringtones of their favourite artists rather than actual albums or singles).

              In the words of Universal Music Group chairman Lucian Grainge, “Japan (music industry) is utterly, totally unique.”

    • Kiang Sheryl

      i’m happy fairies is even mentioned. do anyone know their popularity in japan because they’re not that known imo.

    • omi

      Perfume deserve 1st place :]

    • Midori

      YES, e-girls AND Flower both made the list. I’m soooo happy! ^.^ And congratulations to Perfume!

    • Dream

      This is interesting. I never really thought about how popular Perfume is but they really are the top girl group. Nice to see E-girls and Flower placing well too.

    • Omnirosa

      Yay for E-girls and Flower! I wish Dream was on there. I’ll still forever be bitter at Perfume for effectively killing off any talent that Yasutaka Nakata had.

      • ExileQuestions

        but Hapinesss isn’t there.

      • starlightshimmers

        Yasutaka Nakata has been working with Perfume since 2003. Stay bitter!

    • Muu

      Perfume’s biggest thing is that they’ve remained relevant and consistent. If you think about it, they’ve had 7 straight years of success. Yes, their sales have taken a slight hit more recently but pre-Perfume most female groups fall out of the public eye after they make it big (MAX, Morning Musume, ZONE, etc.) and few maintain relevancy. Perfume has done that with half the promotion of Momoclo and 48.

      • Tutu

        I don’t really know much about MAX or too too much about ZONE, but as I was following up closely with JPop during that era, ZONE fell out because the brand disbanded or went on hiatus so of course they didn’t maintain relevancy.

        As for Morning Musume, they dominated the scene for a good amount of years as Perfume did right now and only fell out around 2007 or 2008ish when AKB started dominating.

        • maamoswine1

          correction Momosu already fall around 2004-2006 but since they are the only releiable idol group at that time they still maintain to be publicly known even before akb start to rise, those years are called the idol drought

        • sumire

          In 2007 AKB wasn’t a thing wtf. MM dominated nothing after losing big names, they fall out from being a national idol, because girl groups were basically “dead”, there wasn’t a scene. Then Perfume started the female idol boom again with GAME, then AKB,Momoclo, E-girls and stuff happened

        • Muu

          Morning Musume did NOT fall around 2007 or 2008. Their own wota admit that they started falling off after 5th gen joined and 2003 onward was the downfall. They were long done with by 2007 and were only on Kouhaku for nostalgia factor. Add to the fact that there were no other girl groups to overtake them until Perfume (who had their big break in 2007) and AKB48 (had some popularity in 2007, break started from 2009 onward).

          • Muu

            I also forgot to add but ZONE disbanded after they went from selling 100,000 figures to less than 50,000. So yes, they fell off too.

    • chaosmyth

      But but too much lip-sync there at the top

      • M

        I don’t know what you expect from a electro-pop group that’s whole basis is electronic, robotic-like sound and performances. Their performances (and the group as a whole, really) wouldn’t be what they are if they didn’t lipsync their songs for performances. (If you’re referring to Perfume, that is). People don’t seem to mind, clearly, given that they sell out every show they do, and are as popular as they are.

        • chaosmyth

          Electro group without lipsync

          robotic/autotuned-like vocals

          • Alex

            You do know that these two acts are quite different from Perfume right? The stuff that Perfume do requires a lot of energy and stamina especially during long concerts. It would be extremely difficult for them to sing while dancing at the same time. Their concerts are mostly centered around the strenuous dancing and visuals. Comparing them to Chvrches or Fear, and Loathing in Las Vegas is very silly. I don’t mean that last comment as an attack on you by the way I’m just trying to make a point.

            • chaosmyth

              Of course they’re different in concepts, but a musical act without real ‘live’ doesn’t really count as music group. It’s no different with a dance performance then.
              Any long concert requires a lot of energy and stamina, not only for Perfume, bands like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas perform live singing while jumping around & playing instruments. That mic doesn’t necessary requires a standing mic, there are lots type of mics with variety type of sounds. Also you could set the effect of mic output at audio table.
              Tbh perfume’s dances do not consume stamina much bigger compare to other dances, they’re playing with the arms movement alot.

              Ok let say a long concert is really hard for them to performs live, make sense. But with a single song performance like music programm in tv, is that really hard either? at least sing along with the voice in the playback instead of empty haw

              • Alex

                I don’t really think that just because they don’t sing live that they don’t count as a music group.

                Also I can’t answer as to why they don’t do live vocals for smaller performances. Maybe they just don’t have the right set ups to create the right effects for their voices. *shrugs* It doesn’t really matter to me either way because I enjoy them. But thank you for pointing out that they could set the effect of the mic.

              • Goo

                The thing is, Perfume has pretty decent live vocals. Nakata’s the one that gave instruction for them not to mess with his music.

    • wealthyriver

      Congrats to Perfume for remaining no.1 & increasing their score :) The top 4 is undeniably the most popular girl groups of Japan right now ^^ Too bad SKE & Momusu keep going down despite pretty good sales :(

      In case anyone’s interested, here are the 2014 & 2013 results respectively:

      Btw, is Perfume still considered an idol group, or they’ve already established their name as artists? I see that nowadays their image has nothing to do with idol stuffs, which gives them some advantages in these kinds of rankings.

      • M

        I personally don’t consider Perfume idols, and haven’t since I discovered them. They’re artists in most people’s eyes I think, because they don’t do things idols do or market themselves as idols. When they’re introduced on TV and such, it’s always something along the lines of “3nin electro-pop unit, Perfume”. Perfume kinda dropped the idol image round the Triangle era, when they started getting more serious songs and moved away from the cutesy songs like Polyrythm (so, 2009 onwards). Perfume is very innovative technology-wise, their performances and concerts are top-notch, and their music videos, choreography, and music really push far past the idol level. So, in pretty much every way, I’d consider them artists. (The fact that they don’t refer to themselves as idols either also says a lot)

        • Cellac

          I don’t know where you get this from but Perfume hasn’t moved away from cutesy songs – in fact their songs have been getting slightly even cuter. Macaroni, Communication, Mirai No Museum, Kasuka Na Kaori, Magic of Love, more recently Koi Wa Zenkeishisei, Hold My Hands and even Relax In The City. This is not including a spat of album songs like Furikaerutoiruyo from Level 3. They are stil idol-like in their approach although their flawless thematic presentation sometimes distort the fact.

        • bloop

          While Perfume is maybe not as overtly idol-like as your typical group, I really don’t think you could call them artists. To me, one of the key things that would categorize someone as an artist is that they have some level of creative control over their material, and Perfume never has had that. They’ve even said that they don’t really know what their songs will sound like at the time they’re recording their parts for them. They also use an idol business model, tying a lot of their music into commercial promotions, having decisions made largely by their agency, etc. I would say these things are more fundamentally part of being an idol than things like the quality level of their performances and such. After all, Momoclo also has massive and elaborate live events and some very technical compositions (much more musically interesting than the average “artist”), yet they firmly embrace the idol label. Indeed, I think that idol music in general is starting to trend toward a real focus on making quality music, and less on marketing specific girls to the wota.

          • toak

            That’s never been a suitable definition for “artist”, was Whitney Houston not an artist? Elvis?

            • bloop

              Well, I think it’s a better definition than trying to judge by talent or performance level. If being a skilled performer automatically meant being an artist, there would basically be no such thing as a bad artist, and that isn’t true. It would also mean that there are no talented idols, since they would become artists when they got good enough, and that is obviously not the case (Matsui Sakiko being a good example).

              Also, I think there’s more of a distinct line between artists and others in Asian pop; in J-pop many people probably would say those two aren’t artists, although they usually don’t call solo performers idols either. In the case of Elvis though, he did at least have some say in the way things would ultimately sound, so I’d say he fits into the definition I said. At any rate, I’m pretty sure Perfume is far more separated from their song creation than Elvis or Whitney were, to the point where I don’t think “artist” would be the correct term.

              • toak

                Why are you sure of that ? Perfume have basically said, regarding their last album Level 3, that they asked for a certain sound and songs fitting a certain type of performance from Nakata and he worked to deliver on their ideas. So they’re obviously involved in the process.

                Don’t understand why there would be no such thing as a bad artist if those performers are defined as artists – being defined as an artist doesn’t mean you’re a good artist. I never said anything about a certain skill level either. Many idols in Korea and Japan write songs they perform so your separation doesn’t work either way. Idol has less to do with music and performance than with business models and management – relationship with fans, idol-type events and appearances, image building.

                • bloop

                  Perfume have also said before that they don’t really have any idea how their songs will really sound until they’re basically done. I haven’t heard anything to suggest that this has changed a lot, so I’d say they’re still pretty distant from the composition and such. They may sometimes suggest general ideas for upcoming songs, but I still get the impression that Nakata runs the show almost entirely once songs start getting made.

                  I kind of assumed that you agreed with the comment I replied to, which did basically say that having high quality performances put Perfume onto the level of artists rather than idols. In the case of idols who begin songwriting, it’s not uncommon for people to say that they’re flirting with the artist side of things, and I bet that if they started a solo project where they did all their own songs, people would call them artists. I’ll admit that this condition might not be perfect, but I think it works well a pretty good amount of the time.

                  I actually mentioned before though that Perfume does follow an idol-like business model in many ways. They were even still doing variety show appearances in the period after Triangle, which is possibly the most “artist-like” era they’ve had. I’d still maintain they match the “idol” category pretty well, even though they don’t act quite like most idols. I’m actually not sure if you disagreed about this though or just about my criteria from before :P

                  • Cellac

                    ^ Pretty much. I looove Perfume but I am almost always under the impression that they are more performers (or on even a harsher word, pawns) for Nakata and their management team. Now this may sound really mean but I actually don’t have any problem as such or question their credibility.

                    Most of the time (if not all the time) they are just directed a certain way to perform choreography or given songs to suit tie-ins (Mirai No Museum, Lovefool (cover), Communication, Pick Me Up, Natural Koi Ni Shite, etc).

                    Then it boils down to what actually the girls themselves contribute. They are no doubt instrumental in the success of Perfume themselves. Their image, which admirably never stray from their iconic haircuts, and undoubtedly their presence as the package we know and love, carries the Perfume brand. They are the perfect vessel for Nakata to release such music – he is capable of making such music yet Perfume is his most successful act – I suspect he himself know that Capsule isn’t sometimes appropriately suited to releasing such tunes.

                    I have no qualms whatsoever with liking them for what they are – one of Nakata’s outlet. I love their presentations, charisma and charms, each one of them – they make the Perfume experience complete for me.

      • Alberto Moreno

        I think people here misuderstood the poll, I mean, it’s not about precisely the popularity of the group or that people like the groups who are in higher places. It’s about how people recognize an idol face and her name and if they know from which group she is from. In other words this is about the popularity of the members of girl groups and how it’s related with acknowledge of group she belongs from the people. If it’s true that this is about the popularity of the group, then, it would’n be necessary having Ami going as solo.

    • ponpiri

      Damn. Juice hardly made it in there.

    • Aaan

      I’m really happy to see Fairies and Idoling! Didn’t think they were that popular.

      Also, it’s a nice surprise to see 3 H!P groups make the list as well.

    • lwavesurfer

      My superb autotune queens. Slay a bit.

    • pasen9

      The question is: Where’s Passpo?

    • okawa rio

      Yeay for Flower

    • Beko

      Disagree with the list? Vote for Japan’s top girl idol group at Tokyo Journal: