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Singer-songwriter Hikaru Utada became the first Japanese musician have a top 20 album on Apple's online iTunes retail store in the United States on Tuesday. Utada's This is the One went on sale on March 25 and ranked #19 among all albums. No other Japanese person's album ranked even in the top 100 in the five-year history of the iTunes Store in the United States. As of Saturday, Utada's album is still in the #22 spot. Among just the pop albums, it was #2. Even though the album will not be released on physical CDs in the United States until May 12, the digital sales alone might be enough to rank the album on April 9's Billboard 200 chart, the industry standard for sales rankings.
As part of the American promotion for the album, iTunes is offering Utada's "Come Back to Me" music video for free. Utada also appeared in Sephora beauty care stores in Hollywood, New York City, and Miami this past week. The CD version has been on sale in Japan since March 14.
Utada was born in New York City and raised in Japan and the United States. Her debut album, 1999's First Love, is still Japan's bestselling album ever with about 8 million copies sold. Utada's music has appeared in Freedom, Evangelion:1.0 You are (Not) Alone, the live-action Casshern film, and the Hana Yori Dango 2 live-action television adaptation. In addition to her singing career, she played the heroine Pinoko in the 2001-2002 Black Jack net anime series.
Thank you to JLightstar for the news tip.