As usual, January starts off as a practical no-man’s land of releases, except that Golden Bomber seems to be starting a tradition of releasing on New Year’s Day, and Sandaime J Soul Brothers is joining them this time. It so happens that Jan. 1st is Wednesday – the standard release day – this year, so they won’t be facing a shortened first week of sales. Otherwise, with only a couple notable exceptions, it’s pretty dry until January 22nd, where we start to see a more normal number of releases. For the first few weeks, there seem to be an inordinate number of collections.

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).

January 1st

Golden Bomber – 101 Kaime no Noroi

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

January 8th

IDOLING!!! – Gold Experience (album)

Home Made Kazoku – Kaho – The Best of Home Made Kazoku (album)

January 15th

Kanjani8 – Hibiki

Sakanaction – Good Bye/Eureka

January 22nd

AKB48 – Tsugi no Ashiato (album)

Tegomasu – Tegomass no Seishun (album)

Sekai no Owari – Snow Magic Fantasy

Dir En Grey – Sustain the UNtruth

Fudanjuku – Chenmen Tengoku

mihimaru GT – The Singles of mihimaru GT (album)

January 29th

Amuro Namie – Tsuki

Ieiri Leo – chocolate

Morning Musume ’14 – Egao no Kimi wa Taiyo sa/Kimi no Kawari wa Iyashinai/What is LOVE?

aiko – Kimi no Tonari

BABYRAIDS – Koi wa Panic

ClariS – CLICK

February 5th

Hey! Say! Jump – AinoArika/Aisureba Motto Happy Life

Tohoshinki – Hide & Seek/Something

Itano Tomomi – little

NICO Touches the Walls – NICO Touches the Walls no Best (album)

It’s so strange not having any idea what the top single on January 8th or the top album on January 15th might be – not even having a likely candidate. You would think one of the big names would take the opportunity to secure an easy #1, but it looks like they think sales on the first weeks of January are horrendous and don’t want to touch it.

Golden Bomber should be interesting to watch. They’re a fun bunch and have been making the rounds (including on the drama 49 and early in 2013 they had even gone on Arashi ni Shiyagare, if I recall), so will they be able to surpass how they did last year?

Will Kanjani8 be able to recover after their relatively recent single didn’t do quite as well as usual?

Too bad for Tegomasu they didn’t have their album scheduled for January 15th – now they’re going up against AKB48, and there’s no mystery how the top of the album rankings will look there. Right now, it loose like Sekai no Owari is the likely winner on the single side, so that will be something to see.

After that, you know that I’m looking forward to the Hey! Say! Jump release in February. Here’s a question: we seem to be getting to option to purchase all versions of the Johnny’s singles bundled together at fair value (that is, no discount or mark-up). Does anyone know if that counts as a single sale on Oricon, or is it as many sales as there are versions bundled? Seems like it should be the former. There are four purchasable versions of the HSJ single, but there’s an option to buy them bundled. If the bundle only counts as a single sale, then that will probably put a relative dent in HSJ’s numbers, even though the agency will reap the full profits.