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Billboard Japan Mid-Year Charts: Namie Amuro Continues Reign, Kenshi Yonezu Tops Hot 100

Billboard Japan Mid-Year Charts: Namie Amuro Continues Reign, Kenshi Yonezu Tops Hot 100

Billboard Japan released its 2018 mid-year charts (tracking weeks Nov. 27, 2017 through May 27, 2018) on Friday (June 8), and Kenshi Yonezu topped the Japan Hot 100 with his long-running hit “Lemon” while Namie Amuro continues to lead the Hot Albums chart with her greatest-hits album Finally.

J-pop hitmaker Kenshi Yonezu’s “Lemon” was released digitally on Feb. 12, and the physical version on March 14. It bowed at No. 2 on the Japan Hot 100 dated Feb. 12 to 18 and remained in the top four for 15 consecutive weeks.

The song hit No.1 on the week dated March 19 to 25 after the release of the CD, and stayed there for two weeks, and rules the mid-year Japan song chart with more than twice the accumulative points of the follow-up song.

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At No. 2 on the mid-year Japan Hot 100 is Keyakizaka46‘s “Glass Wo Ware!,” followed by Gen Hoshino‘s “Doraemon” at No. 3.

Yoko Oginome’s “Dancing Hero” — the Japanese cover of Angie Gold‘s 1985 disco number “Eat You Up,” which was originally released that same year — enjoyed a comeback in 2017 that lasted well into 2018. The resurgent hit comes in at No. 11 on the mid-year Japan song chart after accumulating points in the digital metrics of the chart’s methodology: No. 2 for video views, No. 9 for streaming, and No. 24 for downloads.

Meanwhile, Japanese R&B icon Namie Amuro’s last greatest-hits album, Finally, continues to dominate, becoming the first album to consecutively top the mid-year and year-end tally. Finally was Billboard Japan’s No. 1 album of 2017 and rules the 2018 mid-year Hot Albums chart, selling over 2,115,179 physical copies since it went on sale Nov. 8, and remaining in the top five for look-ups — the number of times a CD has been ripped to a computer — since its debut on the chart. The massive release is only available on CD, so it leads the chart with no download points.

The album at No. 2 is Bokutachi Wa, Ano Hi No Yoake Wo Shitteiru by AKB48, and Kenshi Yonezu’s BOOTLEG comes in at No. 3.

Looking at the charts dedicated to downloads and streaming that launched last year, Kenshi Yonezu rules both formats in the mid-year results: “Lemon” is the most downloaded song, while his collab with DAOKO, “Uchiage Hanabi,” leads streaming. The most downloaded album is The Greatest Showman soundtrack.

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Yonezu commented on the success of “Lemon” and his sweep of the mid-year charts, noting that he had intended the song to be enjoyed by a wide audience. “I wrote it hoping that it would reach as many people as possible,” he said. “I’m overwhelmed to think that I’m now in a position to make that a reality. I’m very grateful.”

Amuro, who is retiring from performing in September, shared her thoughts on her album’s continuing popularity. “I’m honored that my album Finally is reaching so many people,” she said. “I hope it delivers my 25 years worth of gratitude to everyone who has given me support over the years.”

The results for the first half of 2018 show that there is a greater tendency for hits to be born from their strength in the digital metrics such as downloads, streaming and video views compared to last year in the Japanese market. CDs continue to be an important medium to satisfy ardent fans who prefer to own music in this format, while the use of social media to reach out to a wider audience to spread the music has also become a crucial factor for a song to become a hit.

Video view counts are another major factor that determines a song’s popularity, and songs with many views tend to also accumulate points in the downloads and streaming metrics. This shows that consumers who watch videos online for free also go on to buy the music digitally, which is a promising sign for the Japanese music market.

Billboard JAPAN Hot 100 Mid-Year Chart
1. Lemon / Kenshi Yonezu 
2. Glass Wo Ware! / Keyakizaka46
3. Doraemon / Gen Hoshino
4. Syncronicity / Nogizaka 46
5. Candy Pop / TWICE
6. Sayonara Elegy / Masaki Suda
7. Uchiage Hanabi / DAOKO x Kenshi Yonezu
8. Mabataki / back number
9. Jabaja / AKB48
10. MIC Drop / BTS

Billboard JAPAN Hot Albums Mid-Year Chart
1. Finally / Namie Amuro
2. Bokutachi Wa, Ano Hi No Yoake Wo Shitteiru / AKB48
3. BOOTLEG / Kenshi Yonezu
4. The Greatest Showman: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
5. Everybody!! / WANIMA
8. The BEST / KinKi Kids
9. Yummy!! / Kis-My-Ft2

Billboard JAPAN Hot Animation Mid-Year Chart
1. Doraemon / Gen Hoshino
2. Uchiage Hanabi / DAOKO x Kenshi Yonezu
3. Topaz Love / KinKi Kids
4. Peace Sign / Kenshi Yonezu
5. ZERO / Masaharu Fukuyama
6. Ultra Blast / ST☆RISH
7. Ref:rain / Aimer
8. Shinkariron / BOYS AND MEN
10. POP TEAM EPIC / Sumire Uesaka

Billboard JAPAN Streaming Songs Mid-Year Chart
1. Uchiage Hanabi / DAOKO x Kenshi Yonezu
2. Sayonara Elegy / Masaki Suda
3. Shape Of You / Ed Sheeran
5. Hero / Namie Amuro
6. I LOVE YOU / Chris Hart
7. Wherever you are / ONE OK ROCK
8. Change / ONE OK ROCK
9. Dancing Hero / Yoko Oginome
10. Kaze Ni Fukaretemo / Keyakizaka46

Billboard JAPAN Download Songs Mid-Year Chart
1. Lemon / Kenshi Yonezu 
2. Mabataki / back number
3. Anata / Hikaru Utada
4. here comes my love / Mr.Children
5. Doraemon / Gen Hoshino
6. Sayonara Elegy / Masaki Suda
7. Change / ONE OK ROCK
8. Uchiage Hanabi / DAOKO x Kenshi Yonezu
9. Haiiro to Ao(+ Masaki Suda) / Kenshi Yonezu
10. Be The One / PANDORA feat. Beverly

Billboard JAPAN Download Albums Mid-Year Chart
1. The Greatest Showman: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
2. BOOTLEG / Kenshi Yonezu
3. Everybody!! / WANIMA
5. Encore / back number
6. Mr.Children 1992-2002 Thanksgiving 25 / Mr.Children
7. Mr.Children 2003-2015 Thanksgiving 25 / Mr.Children
8. Reimport vol.2 Civil Aviation Bureau / Sheena Ringo 
9. Sakana Zukan / Sakanaction
10. 24K Magic / Bruno Mars

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