The real flood of big releases starts next week, but the standings were flooded with lesser known names this week taking an opportunity to vie for a good ranking, effectively clearing out most of the lingerers from 2013.

The number one single for the past week was a big one, though – Morning Musume’s “Egao no Kimi wa Taiyou sa/Kimi no Kawari wa Iyashinai/What is LOVE?” had the group’s best opening week since “Do It! Now” in 2002 (a claim also made by the group’s previous single until this one surpassed it). It saw 149,361 copies sold, continuing the recovery after the group’s dry period between 2005 and 2012.

Hikawa Kiyoshi-san’s new single “Otone Nagare Tsuki” (大利根ながれ月) did well at #2, selling 46,312.

At #3, Amuro Namie-san’s “TSUKI” sold 42,021 copies.

“Kimi no Tonari” from aiko-san took #5, selling 36,654.

Taking #9, Ieiri Leo-san’s “Chocolate” saw 18,047 copies sold.

In its second week, “Snow Magic Fantasy” from SEKAI NO OWARI got #11 by selling a very strong 16,237 copies to bring its total to 116,278.

Kanjani8 got #15 as “Hibiki” had 7,472 copies sold to bring its three-week total to 234,987.

And that left Fukuda Kouhei-san’s “Nanbu Semishigure” the only significant single in the top 30 from 2013 . . . wait . . . it’s from 2012! It’s in its sixty-seventh week! Anyway, it took #24 by selling 5,036 and now boasts a total of 145,261.

The album standings were similarly thin thanks to the flood of new releases. At the top was “Genesis of 2PM” from 2PM, which sold 63,213.

AKB48’s “Tsugi no Ashiato” had a typical AKB follow-up week – selling just 32,156 to bring its total to 993,687. That’s around 3% of first week sales, which just says what we already know – AKB sales are extremely front-loaded for a variety of reasons.

The only other album of note was “Flower” from Flower, which tacked on 15,988 at #5 to bring its two-week total to 77,973. That’s a very strong second week – 25% of first week sales..

Okay, well here comes February, so even though this update was short, I expect the standings will get filled out with familiar names soon.