After a very active November, releases start to trail off toward the end of the year. But even if December is a bit light, there are some very notable releases in the mix – including one that I’ve spent a whole year hoping for that we’ll get on Christmas Day (appropriately enough).

This list has selected single and album releases for the month, not all of them (i.e. releases from groups that I’m interested in tracking or at least recognize). My apologies if I missed a significant release  – please mention the artist and title in a comment and I’ll update the list.

More complete listings are available on merchant websites (I use CD Japan’s list).

December 4th

Kanjani8 – Kokoro Sora Moyo

KinKi Kids – L album

Sandaime J Soul Brothers – SO RIGHT

Juice=Juice – Ijiwaru shinaide Dakishimete yo / Hajimete wo Keiken Chu

Sako Tomohisa – Colorful World

Yusuke – V / Jikyu 850 yen no Santa Claus

RIP SLYME – Golden Time (album)

DAIGO – Butterfly / Ima Aitakute . . .

December 11th

AKB48 – Suzukake no Ki no Michi de […]

RADWIMPS – Batsu to Maru to Tsumi to

JUJU – Gift (live album)

Super Junior – Blue World

Geek Sleep Sheep – night porter (album)

Becky# – 3shine! ~Singles & More~ (album)

LUNA SEA – A Will (album)

December 13th

Busaiku – Tana Kara Botamochi

December 18th

SMAP – Shareotsu / Hello

UVERworld – Nanosecond

Kobukuro – One Song From Two Hearts (album)

bump.y – pinpoint (album)

S/mileage – “Iiyatsu” / Eeka!?

December 25th

Hey! Say! Jump – Ride With Me

AAA – (album title TBA)

Yuzu – Hyori Ittai

Hamasaki Ayumi – Feel the love / Merry-go round

January 1st

Golden Bomber – 101 Kaime no Noroi

Sandaime J Soul Brothers – The Best / Blue Impact (album)

So, obviously the Hey! Say! Jump single is the one I’m looking forward to because, frankly, “Come On A My House” was somewhat of a misfire from my point of view – I’m hoping that “Ride With Me” is more of a cool track, perhaps backed by some solid B-sides. I’ve got the Best Artist performance but haven’t taken a look at it yet (I’m a bit nervous to).

But there’s plenty besides HSJ in December. KinKi Kids and SMAP will be solid as always, but how will Kanjani8 do? I think they’ll be at Kouhaku again, so maybe that will give this release bump next month, too.

Will AKB48 be hampered by the fact that the title of their new single will exhaust anyone who tries to say it? Probably not – as usual, I’m sure a clever four-syllable shortening of the name is already prevalent.

Both RADWIMPS and Kobukuro have long-awaited albums coming out in December.

Then there’s the release nobody was expecting – Busaiku’s “Tana Kara Botamochi”. SMAP’s Nakai-san just swoops in and creates a subunit out of the four Kis-My-Ft2 members who get less exposure, and from all indications he’s had a lot of fun with this maneuver.

Finally, Golden Bomber will try to work the New Year’s magic again. Will people see them on Kouhaku and immediately go out to buy their new song, just like they did last year?