AKB48, Morning Musume Win Big at Billboard Japan Music Awards
Special performances highlighted the link between 2013 and 1963, when Kyu Sakamoto became the first Japanese artist to hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The Billboard Japan Music Awards were broadcast in December on the TV Tokyo networks. The annual award ceremony, now in its fifth year, honored artists based on two categories: "Charts," which celebrates the No. 1 artists on BillboardJAPAN's 2013 year-end charts; And "Artists," determined by total points earned through a popular vote of more than 100 nominees and yearly chart points.
Mega J-pop girl group AKB48 -- currently boasting more than 80 members -- snagged four awards, including "Artist of the Year 2013" which is given to the act who made the biggest impact on the country's music industry. The Japanese idol group won the same four awards last year. Watch a preview video of their most recent Japan Hot 100 No. 1 "Suzukake No Ki No Michi De uKim…," the last chart topper of last year from the Dec. 28, 2013 chart.
Veteran female act Morning Musume picked up the trophy for "Active Artist of the Year 2013," awarded to the most active live performance act. Check out the music video to their latest single, the dubstep-inspired "Wagamama Kimama AI No Joke," below.
Along with announcing the winners for each category, the program featured special performances highlighting the link between 1963, the year Kyu Sakamoto became the first Japanese artist to be No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with "Ue Wo Muite Arukou" aka "SUKIYAKI" (listen to the song below) and 2013.
Yasuharu Konishi (a former member of Pizzicato Five that debuted in America in the mid '90s) served as the musical director for this segment that spotlighted popular hits from 1963 such as "Ue Wo Muite Arukou," performed by Miho Fukuhara, and "Tokyo Gorin Ondo" performed by Naozumi Masuko of Dohatsuten.
The Japan Hot 100 chart refreshes every Thursday morning EST on Billboard.com, as do the rest of Billboard's charts.