On December 9, AKB48 released their new single, “Kuchibiru ni Be My Baby.” The single sold 813,044 copies in its first day, taking the #1 spot for that day. With this number, AKB48 also managed to become the best selling singles act in Japanese history. Their total sales for singles now stands at 36,158,000 copies. B’z previously held this title with singles sales of 35,809,000 copies. They are followed by Mr.Children (28,628,000), Southern All Stars (25,352,000) and SMAP (23,955,000). AKB48 has released 42 singles in 9 years, while B’z has released 52 singles in 27 years.
The mastermind of AKB48, Yasushi Akimoto, also has a personal reason to celebrate. With the first day sales of “Kuchibiru ni Be My Baby”, he is now the first lyricist in Japanese history to crack the 100 million single sales mark. Since his debut as a songwriter in 1981, the sales of singles he has written for various acts over his career now stands at 100,226,000. He is followed by Aku Yu (68,340,000), Matsumoto Takashi (49,854,000), Tetsuya Komuro (42,297,000), and Tsunku (37,961,000). Yasushi also has the most weeks at #1 on the singles chart for a songwriter, with 129. He is followed by B’z’s Inaba Koshi (54) and Matsumoto Takashi (47). The first #1 single penned by him was Kikuchi Momoko’s 1985 single “Sotsugyou -GRADUATION-.” The most recent is HKT48’s “Shekarashika!”, which was released last month. Yasushi’s best selling singles acts are AKB48 (36,158,000), SKE48 (7,840,000), Nogizaka46 (5,968,000), NMB48 (5,614,000), and Tunnels (5,476,000).
AKB48 is now the best selling singles act in Japan history, but they have quite a long way to go to be the best selling Japanese act ever. B’z still holds that title with over 80 million records sold. AKB48’s total record sales currently stands at about half that number.