As evidence of their growing popularity, the latest single by idol group AKB48 ranked #1 on the daily charts, outperforming even SMAP's newest song. According to Oricon, AKB48's "Iiwake Maybe" had estimated sales of more than 57,000 copies in its first day, compared to less than 31,000 copies for SMAP's "Sotto Kyutto / Superstar." Both were released on August 26.
Before this, AKB48 had never reached #1 on the daily or weekly charts. At this rate, "Iiwake Maybe" is on track to become their first chart-topper when the weekly sales numbers are published next week. SMAP, on the other hand, has already put out 21 number-one singles, including their last 10 releases before "Sotto Kyutto."
Meanwhile, popular anime series "K-On!" occupied the #3 to #5 slots with three new character singles. Last month, the show managed to become the first anime series to reach #1 with a character album.