From music to manga: Rakuten ranks Japan’s popular culture

Rakuten has a unique window into Japan’s popular culture, with over 70 different services that include Rakuten Kobo, Rakuten TV and Rakuten Music, where users gather to access the latest manga, anime or hit single.

And so, without further ado, we present to you Japan’s top manga, music, TV blockbusters and more, according to our users.

Top Manga: Rakuten Kobo

Rakuten Kobo deals exclusively in e-books and is particularly popular with manga enthusiasts in Japan. The top ten slots for the first half of 2018 all went to the latest editions of 10 different manga series.

In first place was volume 25 of the post-apocalyptic fantasy series Attack on Titan, a colossal bestseller with adaptations into novels, anime and live-action films. Volume 49 of Chinese historical fiction manga Kingdom landed in second place, with Volume 35 of adventure series Hunter × Hunter by the legendary Yoshihiro Togashi taking third, just above the e-book version of the very same ONE PIECE that topped Rakuten Books’ list.

Of note was the ninth-placed Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku (Volume 5) – a romantic comedy manga that came to life as a free webcomic, but achieved so much popularity that it earned itself an anime adaptation earlier this year.

Every single spot on Rakuten Kobo’s top ten list went to a different manga.
Every single spot on Rakuten Kobo’s top ten list went to a different manga.

Top Ten Tracks: Rakuten Music

In celebration of its third birthday, Rakuten Music announced the 10 most streamed tracks from the past two years. Rakuten Music prides itself on giving users access to an extensive library of Japanese artists—something clearly reflected in the top ten list. In fact, seven of the 10 most streamed tracks were from Japanese artists.

Japanese idol groups Keyakizaka46 and Nogizaka46 clinched the second and sixth spots respectively with their hit songs Silent Majority and Influencer. The most streamed song over the two-year period was Dear Bride by award-winning artist Kana Nishino.

Ed Sheeran managed to buck the trend with his worldwide hit Shape of You taking the third spot, while Japanese media darling Bruno Mars made the top five with 24K Magic. Ariana Grande’s rendition of Beauty and the Beast sneaked in at number 10 to wrap up the rankings.

Japan’s 10 favorite songs of the past two years.
Japan’s 10 favorite songs of the past two years.

Top books, CDs, DVDs and games: Rakuten Books

Rakuten Books is more than just a bookstore: It also serves as a hub for CDs, DVDs and games. Notably, CDs and DVDs dominated the top ten during the first half of 2018, with different versions of Japanese boy-band ARASHI’s latest live tour and single coming in at sixth, seventh, eighth and tenth place. Beating out ARASHI in third place, however, was the hit single Lemon from Japanese musician Kenshi Yonezu.

On the gaming side, Capcom’s mega-hit action RPG Monster Hunter: World came in at fifth place, while second place went to the manga adaptation of the 1937 classic How Do You Live? by Genzaburo Yoshino – an award-winning novel with a film adaptation by Studio Ghibli’s legendary Hayao Miyazaki on the horizon.

The top spot was captured by Volume 88 of the perennially successful swashbuckling manga series ONE PIECE by Eiichiro Oda. Orders for Volume 89 of the same series also clocked in at number four on the list, despite not being scheduled for release until after the survey period, proving that pirates do what they want, when they want. English readers will unfortunately have to wait—the translation of volume 88 isn’t expected until November 2018.

The Rakuten Books combined ranking of books, CDs, DVDs and games.
The Rakuten Books combined ranking of books, CDs, DVDs and games.

Top TV and film: Rakuten TV

Rakuten’s video streaming service Rakuten TV gives viewers access to a wide range of TV, film and anime content from Japan and around the world. In notable contrast to Rakuten Music, users are overwhelmingly opting for international entertainment as their go-to binge material, according to data from the first half of 2018.

Season 13 of U.S. TV series Supernatural took number the number one spot on the list, but it was content from Eastern Asia that dominated the list. Widely acclaimed Chinese period dramas General and I and The Princess Weiyoung took the second and third places, while South Korean dramas ranked five of the remaining spots, including cult sports drama Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo, romantic comedy My Secret Romance, and award-winning 19th century youth romance Love in the Moonlight. Rakuten TV users have made it clear: Japan’s love affair with K-drama is alive and well.

The five most streamed Korean dramas of early 2018.
The five most streamed Korean dramas of early 2018.
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