An Examination of Yonezu Kenshi’s Single Sales

In its opening week, Yonezu Kenshi‘s single “Uma to Shika” sold 431,270 copies according to the Billboard Japan Top Singles Sales chart, placing it in the #2 spot that week. This is a large increase from the first week of his last single, last October’s “Flamingo / TEENAGE RIOT”, which opened with 240,077 copies sold. The first week sales of “Uma to Shika” gives it the title of the highest first week sales for a soloist single this decade. In fact, Kenshi occupies the top three spots on this ranking, of which the top five are all male.

Highest First Week Soloist Single Sales for the 2010s

  1. Yonezu Kenshi – Uma to Shika: 431,270
  2. Yonezu Kenshi – Flamingo / TEENAGE RIOT: 240,077
  3. Yonezu Kenshi – Lemon: 205,381
  4. Hoshino Gen – Family Song: 193,599
  5. Yamada Ryosuke – Mystery Virgin: 167,955

The chart below shows the sales trajectory of Kenshi’s most recent singles, with their first week sales in dark blue and their total sales in light blue.


It is clear that Kenshi’s first week sales continue to grow. His total sales are also growing, with the exception of the very high sales of “Lemon.” Even though the single came out in March 2018, it has never sold less than 2,000 copies per week since its release. During the opening week for “Uma to Shika”, “Lemon” sat at #15 on the Billboard Japan Hot 100, showing how the song has had a long period of sales.

The chart below compares the first week and total sales of “Lemon” broken down by region.


There are some regional changes between first week and total sales. For example, the Kanto region accounted for 37.8% of first week sales, but dropped to 34.5% when it came to total sales. On the flip side, the Kinki region accounted for 11.5% of first week sales, but rose to 12.2% when it came to total sales. In the same vein, the Chugoku region went from 5.6% to 6.2%. Looking at how low the proportion of total sales are in regions out of Kanto, sales could continue to grow in those regions.

The chart below compares the first week sales of Kenshi’s last three singles versus total singles sales in Japan last year, broken down by region.


It is clear that Kenshi is popular in his home region of Shikoku by comparing the region’s purchases of his singles in their first week of release versus the region’s share of 2018’s singles, which was 1.6%. The biggest instance of his home region popularity was in the case of “Flamingo / TEENAGE RIOT, where the Shikoku region accounted for 5.9% of first week sales. It was also quite high for “Uma to Shika” at 4.2%.

Kenshi’s sales in western Japan, which includes the Shikoku region, were always strong, but they appear to be getting stronger with each release, especially in the Kinki and Chugoku regions. This trend is consistent with the one in regards to the first week and total sales of “Lemon.” The success of that song has contributed to the initial success of “Uma to Shika.”

But it’s not only in western Japan where the sales are rising. Hokkaido’s first week sales share for “Lemon” was 4.2%, while for “Uma to Shika” it’s 6%. It is thought though that this may have something to do with Hokkaido native Oizumi Yo, who is the star of the drama that “Uma to Shika” is the theme for, “No Side Game.”

In the end, Kenshi is expected to grow in popularity and sales.