AKB48 set an astonishing record again~”Sakura no Shiori” hit the No.1 and something more at the Oricon Weekly Chart

By TERRY - Last updated: 日曜日, 2月 28, 2010 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

untitledsakuranoshiori2sakuranoshiori3  AKB48, a young female idol group now has become a nationally popular idol group, which I referred to on previous pages (such as,  http://www.tenkai-japan.com/2009/11/24/kouhaku-performers-names-revealed/  ) a few times here, hit the number one at the Oricon Weekly Chart under the date of  the Mar.1st  issued on  this 23rd with their latest CD, “Sakura no Shiori”(/桜の栞、The Bookmarker of  The Cherry Blossoms).    That CD , which was releaesd on this Feb.17th, sold estimated 229,528 copies  on the first day ,which made the CD  No.1  in the Oricon Day Chart of that date. 


However, what is more,  the CD sold 318,000   copies in the first week, which hit the  No.1 in the Oricon Weekly Chart as well.  It is for the first time that  a   single CD  of a female singers’ group sold more than 300,000 copies in the first  week of  the release in eight years and four months since  Morning Musume’s “Mr.Moonlight ~Ai no BigBand~” (/Mr.Moonlight~愛のビッグバンド~).


  These numbers  precisely represent that ,as many people including me have referred to,  the status of  “the top national female idol group” has been kind of  conceded from MM(Morning Musume) to AKB now.  About 10 years ago, MM was surely “the Top” national female idol group. Yet  MM and its mother group Hello Project have been losing their popularity  these years around though some “graduate” members keep popular or even are becoming more popular than their were when they were incumbent  like I wrote  on a previous page. http://www.tenkai-japan.com/2009/12/22/the-career-options-of-morining-musume-graduates/  On the other hand, AKB has been becoming popular by leaps and bounds nationwide nowadays. 


  AKB ‘s  CD one before the last  was “RIVER” released on   last  Oct. 21st which  hit the Oricon Daily Chart  of that date with estimated 87,795 copies’ sale on the first day.  Still even being compared to this “RIVER” ‘s big hit, ” Sakura no Shiori” ‘s one is incredible.  AKB  achieved  successfully  hitting  the Top of  the Oricon  Daily Charts with two latest single CDs of  theirs  in a row , which is an amazing  accomplishment that reminds us of the consecutive successes of  MM  at  their zenithal days…  


  This time AKB’s newest CD has some prominent points.  “Sakura no Shiori” has three versions; Type A , Type B, and  “the Theater Version”.  Both Type A and B version include  three songs and  their DVDs,  and the title song “Sakura no Shiori” and “Majisuka  Rock’nRoll” (/マジスカロックンロール) are included  in both the two versions. But  Type A  includes “Enkyori Poster”(/遠距離ポスター, Distant Poster ) sung by Team PB (Team Play Boy), while Type B contains ” Choose me” sung by Team YJ(Team Young Jump).   “PlayBoy”(/プレイボーイ) is a popular photo magazine of  young  idols and “Young Jump”(/ヤングジャンプ)  is a popular comic magazine, and  Team PB consists of  some members of AKB whose photos are often used on the magazine and Team YJ consists of AKB members who are  models  of  Young Jump.  Type A  has a jacket of  a photo of  the figuer in the mirror  of  Atsuko Maeda,  “the ace” of AKB, wearing  furisode, a traditional, colorful , and long-sleeved formal  kimono for an unmarried woman. And Type B has a jacket of  the figuers of  Atsuko Maeda, Minami Takahashi, the leader of  Team A of AKB, and  Jyurina Matsui, “the ace” of SKE 48, a sister group of AKB, who are all clad in furisode, a colorful long-sleeved kimono worn by an unmarried woman usually a young girl.


A furisode is traditonally worn on special occasions in Japan, such as  Coming of Age ceremonies, entrance ceremonies, and  graduation ceremonies. Actually this CD’s  songs especially the title song “Sakura no Shiori” is a song  for celebrating graduations and blessing friends.  Sakura or cherry blossoms  come out  around this time of a year  from  early March  to  mid  April and are regarded as  a symbol of  the ending of an old  school year and the beginning of  a new school year, as a school year begins in April  and ends in March in Japan.   


In Japan, as a matter of fact,  there is a special genre called ” Sakura songs” in J-pop.   A lot of  lyricists, composers,and singers write or sing  songs of  cherry blossoms or  using  them as a theme in February~ April, a spring time, the season for cherry blossoms.     This is because of our special  affection and affinity for  cherry blossoms.  We Japanese  do love  cherry blossom viewings in spring and  connect the image of  cherry blossoms and  passing and resurrection of  life.   Actually, AKB has released  some “Sakura songs”  since their debut  five years ago, such as “Sakura no Hanabira-tachi”(/桜の花びらたち, The Petals of the Cherry Blossoms), their first single CD’s song released on Feb.1 st 2006 ,   its self-covered version “Sakura no Hanabira-tachi 2008″ released  on Feb.28th 2008,  and ” Juunen Sakura”(/10年桜, The Ten- Year- Old Cherry Tree)  released on Mar.4th 2009.   AKB  sang  “Sakura no Hanabira-tachi”  in French at the Cool Japan Expo in Paris last July, which appealed to the hearts of a lot of  the audience there including so many non-Japanese fans. 


Therefore, like the other older  Sakura songs or “Graduation songs” of theirs,  AKB  sings this ” Sakura no Shiori” describing  graduations,  parting with school friends, and blessing their future. The song itself is a very  slow, quiet, pure, beautiful  chorus song which is something like ones typical and common at schools, which is a bit different from AKB’s recent  up-tempo songs.  So, I think  AKB may intend to make their newest song be welcome  and so popular among  the  junior-high and high schools’  managements to be a “standard number” to be sung at  graduation ceremonies or  school chorus competitions.


“Sakura no Shiori” “s music video clip was directed by Shunji Iwai(/岩井俊二) who is very famous as the director of  a film, “Love letter”  in 1995 ,  the producer of  “BANDAGE”  which is currently run at movie theaters, and  other popular works.  Because of  Iwai’s participating in the work, AKB now has another point of  drawing attentions of the public again other than the quality of  their music itself. 


In addition,  “Sakura no Shiori”  is the theme song of  a drama “Majisuka Gakuen” (/マジすか学園)http://www.tv-tokyo.co.jp/majisuka/ , currently weekly aired Fri. 24:12-24:50 at  TV TOKYO.  This drama is a story about  bad, violent yet somehow  pure high school girls’ adolescence scenes of “violence and friendships”, and  all the high school girls’ parts are played by AKB, SKE, and SNS members. This drama’s plot was written by Yasushi Akimoto(/秋元康), the grand producer of  the projects of AKB, SKE,and SNS.  Therefore, everything of this drama is created and run by AKB’s projects. “Majisuka Rock’n Roll”  is the opening theme song and it has the directly connected image to the drama itself.  Yet ” Sakura no Shiori” has the entirely opposite image to the atmosphere of the drama, for the song is depicting so beautiful image of school life of typical ” good and demure school girls”.   So, it may be that Akimoto wants to compare the quite opposite images of the two songs and the drama to emphasize the two ends of  the possible youth world to express its huge width and at the same time also to describe something people share in common even in such different styles as well.  00000123001100116-0025280356o0800044710353184902


Usually young female idols don’t play parts of  “bad girls” or of  cruel, nasty, or bloodshed scenes. But as Akimoto says,  “AKB would keep betraying their existing public images with new strives for breakthrough constantly”,  in this drama, AKB  keep portraying  something “not idol-like” ideas and performances,which give us surprising and fresh stimilations  like their new songs always do to us.      

Posted in J-pop, Old and New Cultural Scenes in Japan • Tags: Top Of Page
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