K-pop band BTS’ fourth album “Map of the Soul: 7,” which was released worldwide in February., topped the Oricon’s Album Sales Chart for the first half of the year.
The latest album by the seven-member boy band has sold 429,000 copies in Japan since its release, becoming the most sold album in the country during the period. This the first time that a Korean act has topped Oricon’s half-year chart. It has been 36 years since a foreign singer topped Oricon’s albums chart since Michael Jackson topped with his second album “Thriller” in 1984. Oricon is the most reputable music chart in Japan that began in 1968.
BTS’ latest album is in Korean, not particularly aiming for the Japanese market. All the 429,000 copies sold in Japan are manufactured in and imported to Japan. The group has achieved the feat of selling almost 500,000 copies of their album in a foreign country when promotion for the album has been difficult due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Experts say the trend is attributable to an increasing number of young people getting in touch with the Korean culture through YouTube and the social media. More and more people in Japan are turning to Korean classes that teach Korean through the music videos of Korean artists, such as BTS and Twice.
BTS’ Japanese-language single “Lights/ Boy With Luv” released last year became a million seller in Japan, a feat achieved by a foreign male act for the first time in Oricon’s history.