Monday, February 15, 2010

Is it Possible AKB48 Merchandise will be Available in the Philippines?

My first love with Jpop or Japanese music was Utada Hikaru. I saw her one late night on an episode of MTV Unplugged, and I fell in love with her music, especially the song First Love. The first Utada Hikaru album I was able to purchase was Distance, which contains my now favorite Hikki song, the title track, Distance. I think she is a brilliant song writer.

I was able to purchase all the albums that I have of Hikki right in the country where I live, the Philippines. Except for one or two, all were purchased at a regular record bar, not at a specialty store. It was rare to find, I visit record bars to look for them, but I eventually found them, at different record stores.

So, will it be possible that we'll eventually find AKB48 albums in the Philippines? Yes, possible. Likely? Well, maybe not.

Of course, we have to consider that Hikki currently holds the record for most albums in the top 10 best selling albums in Japan of all time, with three, with the album First Love ranking #1, selling over seven million copies, in Japan alone (ten million internationally), selling two million on its first week alone, staying #1 on the Oricon charts for six weeks. This was released in 1999, when she was only 16 years old. She also wrote all the songs in the album. Her follow-up album released two years later, Distance, is the fourth best selling album in Japan, of all time, with over four million copies sold, while her next album, Deep River, ranks eighth, with over three million copies sold.

So, Utada may be an exception. Although topping charts for their genre and singles sales, an impressive 200,000 copies sold for a single (take note that these are singles, unlike albums which typically contain over a dozen songs) for AKB is still quite far to the international success of english-fluent Utada Hikaru.

I still love Utada Hikaru and follow and purchase her stuff whenever I can, but of course, Hikki is an all-together different genre from AKB. By the way, Utada Hikaru's Budokan concert was also broadcast on Myx (a local competitor of MTV), granted it was several years after the actual concert, and they did advertise its broadcast (maybe not enough in my opinion), however, some of the songs were not shown. So... AKB48 PV's and concerts on Philippine TV and AKB songs on the radio? Don't hold your breath, but there's no reason for us Filipino fans to stop hoping huh? It did take several years before Hikki's stuff got to the Philippines, so maybe in a couple more years...

(For the meantime, please purchase all your AKB [and even non-AKB] stuff at CDJapan by clicking my affiliate links on my sidebar at the right [Thanks!] ---> )

My Utada Hikaru collection

Unlike all my other Utada Hikaru albums, you may notice that in my Deep River album, the lyrics are in Romaji, not Kanji or Kana.

That's because it was made right here in the Philippines (see lower right). Click on the images if you want to see a larger image.

My Exodus CD was also made in the Philippines, then again, Hikki's first all-english album was intended for the international audience. Click on the image if you can't read "Manufactured and printed in the Philippines"


  1. there are 2nd hand sellers of jap stuff here in the philippines. the one i frequent the most is japanimation in Munoz QC.

  2. I've also seen some CDs of Utada Hikaru in a record bar of a mall here in my place. AKB48 have to be popular first before they get their merch locally sold here. K-pop is popular here in our country so i guess it'll take a few years before they enter the music scene here in the Philippines

  3. they're on their way to being the most dominant pop group in asia!!! sakura no shiori just sold 229,528 copies on their first day today!!!

    congratulations girls!!! aki-p forgive me for doubting you!!! :P

  4. Now, they are unbelievably popular. 1m sales for a day?