aiko to Release New Untitled Album in March
15.January.2021 | MUSIC
aiko will release her 14th album on March 3, 2021. The new record, which is currently untitled, comes as the singer’s first in 2 years and 9 months after the release of her last album, Shimetta Natsu no Hajimaru. It will contain 13 tracks including her two singles Aozora and Honey Memory which dropped last year.
First Press Limited-Edition copies come in DVD and Blu-ray variants featuring the full footage of aiko’s first online live performance Love Like Rock vol.9 ~Betsuwaku-chan~. The concert, which was streamed live on her YouTube channel, was held in response to the postponement of the final two shows of her tour Love Like Rock vol.9 which began in autumn 2020. 130,000 fans turned up to the stream and aiko’s name became the number on trending search term on Twitter in Japan. The show was archived for one week and was seen 1.7 million times.
Select CD stores in Japan will couple the album with an original notebook and stickers when fans pre-order or buy the record. These are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The book and sticker designs will be revealed on aiko’s official website in the weeks following up to the album’s release.
It has become a tradition that aiko releases a New Year’s commercial for Japanese television, and this year was no exception, with a new one hitting the air on January 1, 2021. The full version can be seen on her official YouTube channel and features snippets from new songs from the upcoming untitled album.
aiko 14th Album – Title TBA
Release Date: March 3, 2021
First Press Limited Edition A (CD+Blu-ray): ¥4,200 (Before Tax) [PCCA-15003]
First Press Limited Edition B (CD+DVD): ¥4,200 (Before Tax) [PCCA-15004]
aiko Official Website: http://aiko.com
Explore Harajuku Virtually as Virtual Shibuya Announces New Harajuku Area
Virtual Shibuya has announced that its new Harajuku area will open on May 25, 2021. The virtual experience is hosted on Cluster, a virtual social media platform.
Shibuya 5G Entertainment Project launched the “Virtual Shibuya” back in May of last year in collaboration with KDDI, Shibuya Future Design, and the Shibuya Tourism Association. Officially recognised by Shibuya City, Virtual Shibuya comes in response to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic which has brought tight restrictions to the economy and people’s way of life. It enables people to continue enjoying entertainment from the comfort of their homes by participating in a whole host of virtual events and activities. The project aims to deliver content from Shibuya with live performances from artists, art exhibitions, talks, and more. The use of 5G and the latest cutting edge technology connects the real Shibuya to a virtual space, combining the realms of the digital and real world.
Virtual Harajuku is the second area to open in the service and brings together the iconic locations surrounding Jingumae Crossing such as Laforet Harajuku and Tokyu Plaza. As part of the new area’s launch, Japanese pop icon Kyary Pamyu Pamyu has been announced as a Special Supporter of the service. The singer and model made her debut on the streets of Harajuku with her unique fashion. Ten years since her debut, she will continue promoting Harajuku from the service.
Japanese music streaming site RecoChoku has revealed the top song and album rankings of artists for April 2021 who earn the site’s RecoChoku Award for the month.
RecoChoku Award Monthly Music – April 2021
1st Place: “Take a Picture” – NiziU (Released digitally March 29, 2021)
2nd Place: “Renegades” – ONE OK ROCK
3rd Place: “Film out” – BTS
4th Place: “Yoru ni Kakeru” – YOASOBI
5th Place: “Usseewa” – Ado
1st Place: “THE BOOK” – YOASOBI (Released January 6, 2021)
2nd Place: “Take a picture/Poppin’ Shakin'” – NiziU
3rd Place: “BAN (Special Edition)” – Sakurazaka46
4th Place: “Walpurgis” – Aimer
5th Place: “Ketsu no Paradise” – Ketsumeishi
In 2020, NiziU took home the Newcomer Ranking award for RecoChoku Yearly Ranking 2020. The girl group takes first place once again in April 2021’s song charts with Take a picture which is taken from Take a picture/Poppin’ Shakin’, their first double A-side single which released on CD on April 7, 2021. The leas track was released digitally on March 29 for a Coca-Cola commercial. It placed at No. 3 in its first week of release. It climbed to No. 2 the following week, and by its third week it hit No. 1 thanks to its CD release and the group performing it live on Nippon TV’s Sukkuri, NHK’s SONGS, TV Asahi’s Music Station 3 Hour Special, and more. The double A-side’s other track, Poppin’ Shakin’, placed at No. 2 on its release but also climbed to No. 1.
The four-track Take a picture/Poppin’ Shakin’ even made it to No. 2 on RecoChoku’s monthly album charts. And on April 30, NiziU released their new “NiziU Scout” content on their official YouTube channel which broke one million views on the same day. 2021 is looking to be a big year for the group.
YOASOBI take the No. 1 spot on the Album Ranking for their EP THE BOOK for the fourth month in a row. They are a Japanese music duo formed of composer and Vocaloid producer Ayase and singer-songwriter ikura whose music turns novels in songs. Their popularity grew online with the release of their first song Yoru ni Kakeru in November 2019. The track peaked at No. 5 in the RecoChoku Yearly Ranking for 2020. YOASOBI performed on NHK’s annual New Year’s Eve television special Kōhaku Uta Gassen in the same year. When the new year opened, the duo released their first EP, THE BOOK, on January 6, 2021 which included Yoru ni Kakeru as well as Ano Yume o Nazotte which adapted Sota Ishiki’s novel Yume no Shizuku to Hoshii no Hana, Tabun which adapted Shinano’s novel of the same name, Harujion which was used in with food product and film promos, Gunjo which was used in Bourbon’s Alfort Mini Chocolate commercial, Encore which was used for a Google Pixel commercial, and more. The track Harujion in particular has helped with downloads of the albums after it was used in a Nintendo Switch television commercial.
YOASOBI’s new song Mou Sukoshi Dake was released digitally on May 10. The song serves as the latest theme song for the Fuji TV show Mezamashi TV. The track hit No. 1 on RecoChoku’s Single & High Res Single Ranking.
Hello Kitty Diamond Necklaces Released by Japanese Luxury Jewellers U-TREASURE
15.May.2021 | FASHION
Japan’s luxury character jewellery brand U-TREASURE, which creates accessories for character-loving adults, released a new collection of Hello Kitty-inspired necklaces on Tuesday which are available for a limited time until May 25.
The necklaces feature a simple design with a single diamond stone tipped with Hello Kitty’s ribbon. The necklaces come in various versions including platinum, yellow gold, pink gold, and also silver with cubic zirconia. The collection is available to purchase at U-TREASURE’s concept store in Ikebukuro and their online shop.
<Hello Kitty Ribbon Necklaces> Platinum 950: ¥88,000 / K18 Yellow Gold, K18 Pink Gold: ¥88,000 / Silver & Cubic Zirconia: ¥16,500
©2021 SANRIO CO., LTD.
Hello Kitty Ribbon Necklaces
Purchasing Window: May 11, 2021 – May 25, 2021
Available: U-TREASURE Concept Store Ikebukuro / U-TREASURE Online
Miffy x Tabio Sock Collection to Release in Super Cute Designs
15.May.2021 | FASHION
Japanese sock company Tabio is set to release a cute sock collection in collaboration with Miffy on May 17.
Miffy Short Socks | 3 Colours | ¥1,430 (Tax Included)
Miffy Embroidered Socks | (2 Colours) | Women’s ¥1,430, Children’s ¥1,210 (Tax Included)
Miffy Short Socks | 3 Colours | ¥1,430 (Tax Included)
Miffy Embroidered Socks | (2 Colours) | Women’s ¥1,430, Children’s ¥1,210 (Tax Included)
The sock collection arrives with four different sock models featuring adorable Miffy designs. Those who spend over ¥3,300 on the collection will also receive a free Miffy memo pad.
Discover 130 Years of KYOTO BENRIDO’s Colourful Photo and Printmaking World
Nara TSUTAYA BOOKS is set to host the KYOTO BENRIDO’s World fair from May 15 to July 9, celebrating the history of a store that was established in 1887.
Benrido has been contributing to the inheritance of Japanese culture through the photography, printmaking, and publications of cultural properties for 130 years. The The company owns is one of the world’s few remaining collotype studios which provides modern day photographers the unique opportunity to produce prints of their work using this rare process. Collotype was invented in France in the 19th century. It enables one to print images in various tones without the need for halftone screens.
Benrido offers a range of different products such as postcards, folding fans, standing screens, and more, all of which feature artwork by famous artists from the Meiji era to the early Showa era, the Chōjū-jinbutsu-giga, the portfolio of Saul Leiter, and more.
At the fair, visitors can pick up a wide selection of items from collotype pieces to other artistic goods. And starting on May 28, it will also sell items related to Hokusai and ukiyo-e prints.
KYOTO BENRIDO’s World
Running: May 15, 2021 – July 9, 2021
Opening Hours: 8:00-23:00
Location: Nara TSUTAYA BOOKS
Official Website: https://store.tsite.jp/nara/event/shop/19765-1744050424.html
Japanese rock band BAND-MAID held their online live show “THE DAY OF MAID” on May 10 which trended at No. 7 on Twitter in the US. This comes after the band previously trended at No. 4 in the US for another live streamed show.
THE DAY OF MAID was originally scheduled to take place at Toyosu PIT with a live audience, but due to COVID-19, it was performed without one. Comments from fans around the world flooded in the comment section of the stream, causing it to shoot to No. 7 on Twitter in the US. The show is currently archived so can be enjoyed by those who missed it.
BAND-MAID also released an official live video of Thrill from the DVD and Blu-ray release of their previous online concert, “ONLINE OKYU-JU,” which was held on February 11. Check it out below.
BAND-MAID / Thrill (Official Live Video)
BAND-MAID are holding a campaign for the ONLINE OKYU-JI. 50 random lucky fans who purchase the DVD or Blu-ray between May 26 and June 30 have a chance to receive a signed poster. The campaign is taking place on Amazon Japan, Tower Records Online, HMV&BOOKS Online, Rakuten Books, and Neowing.
BAND-MAID “THE DAY OF MAID” Online Sale
Running: May 10, 2021 – May 24, 2021
Buy Here: band-maid.artist-store.jp
BAND-MAID ONLINE OKYU-JI (Feb. 11, 2021) Product Details
Release Date: May 26, 2021
Limited Pressing Edition (2 Blu-rays+CD+Photobook) | ¥9,900 (Tax Included)
Regular Edition Blu-ray | ¥6,600 (Tax Included)
Regular Edition DVD | ¥5,500 (Tax Included)
BAND-MAID “THE DAY OF MAID” US Twitter Top 10
Release Date: January 20, 2021
・Limited Pressing Edition (2 Discs+Blu-ray+ STUDIO PHOTOBOOK): ¥7,000 (Before Tax) [PCCA-04991]
・First Press Limited Edition (CD+DVD): ¥4,000 (Before Tax) [PCCA-04992]
・Regular Edition (CD-Only): ¥3,000 (Before Tax) [PCCA-04993]
Sakura Miku Blossoms On Merchandise at Hirosaki Sakura Matsuri 2021 in Aomori
Japanese anime, game, and hobby merch site CharaAni released a new collection of Sakura Miku merchandise on Monday in collaboration with the Hirosaki Sakura Matsuri 2021 festival.
Hirosaki Sakura Matsuri 2021 x Sakura Miku Line-Up
Folders | ¥450 Each (Tax Included)
Tapestries | ¥3,500 Each (Tax Included)
Acrylic Stands | ¥1,500 Each (Tax Included)
Holographic Pins | ¥550 Each (Tax Included) *Blind box, designs are random
Reversible Blankets | ¥5,500 Each (Tax Included)
Scarf Towel (Art by iXima) | ¥2,000 (Tax Included)
Happi (Art by iXima) | ¥6,000 (Tax Included)
Hand Towel (Art by Mamo) | ¥1,000 (Tax Included)
Motel Key Ring (Art by iXima) | ¥1,500 (Tax Included)
Teacups | ¥1,700 Each (Tax Included)
Flat Pouch (Art by iXima & Mamo) | ¥2,500 (Tax Included)
Drum Bag (Art by iXima) | ¥6,500 (Tax Included)
Full Graphic T-Shirt (Art by Morichika) | ¥5,500 (Tax Included)
Full Graphic Zipper Hoodie (Art by Hechima) | ¥9,900 (Tax Included)
Fashion Mask (Art by iXima) | ¥2,200 (Tax Included)
Desk Mat (Art by iXima) | ¥3,300 (Tax Included)
Shitakawa Rayaki Dove Whistle | ¥2,200 (Tax Included)
Music Box: “Haru o Matsu Hito” – PolyphonicBranch feat. Hatsune Miku
The Sakura Miku x Hirosaki Sakura Matsuri 2021 collection invites on board four artists: iXima, Mamo, Hechima, and Morichika who have created original artwork for the line-up. The items can be bought both at the festival and online.
The collection also includes Sakura Miku-inspired dove whistles made by Shitakawa Rayaki Tsuchi Ningyo, a clay doll company that has been around for over 200 years. The company began in the latter half of the Edo Period when Takaya Kanegura, who had learned how to make ceramics in the town of Chikuzen in Fukuoka, was employed by the Hirosaki Domain to build a furnace.
Miku fans can also get their hands on a music box which features an original song created for the festival called Haru o Matsu Hito (“Person Waiting For Spring”). It features artwork by iXima.
Art by iXima / Mamo / へちま / もりちか © Crypton Future Media, INC. www.piapro.net
Hirosaki Sakura Matsuri 2021 Merchandise
Order Window: May 10, 2021 – May 31, 2021
Event Details: https://www.hirosakipark.jp/sakura/
Music Box – “Haru o Matsu Hito”
Price: ¥10,000 (Tax Included)
Order Window: Late August 2021 – Early September 2021
Song: “Haru o Matsu Hito” by PolyphonicBranch feat. Hatsune Miku
Embroidered Eco Bag Fair Opens at TSUTAYA BOOKS in Nara
Nara TSUTAYA BOOKS opened the Ball & Chain Fair on May 11, stocking a wide selection of thick embroidered polyester eco shopping bags.
Ball & Chain is a shopping bag brand focused on spreading happiness and energy to the world through its products and designs. Its stylish eco bags are high quality and made to be long-lasting with fun and colourful designs that make you want to take it out when shopping. The bags are made from thick polyester so are waterproof and durable.
The Ball & Chain Fair features the brand’s signature RED LABEL bags and welcomes the all-new BLUE LABEL models. Help protect the environment by picking up your very own eco bag.
Ball & Chain Fair
Running: May 11, 2021 – June 17, 2021
Opening Hours: 8:00-23:00
Location: Nara TSUTAYA BOOKS (Floor 1F)
Official Website: https://store.tsite.jp/nara/event/shop/20003-1708510507.html
Enjoy a Cup of High Quality Japanese Tea in the Morning at This New Cafe in Nagoya
Mirume Shinryoku Sabo is a new cafe and tea-lover paradise that opened in Nagoya on May 10, 2021, serving high quality bottled Japanese tea, desserts, and other delicious delights.
Daifuku : Eat-In ¥250 (Tax Included)
Ise Tea Sweet Bean Jelly: Eat-In ¥250 / Store ¥500 (Tax Included)
Ise Tea Cheesecake: Eat-In ¥350 / Store ¥3,300 (Tax Included)
Mirume Shinryoku Sabo is the newest cafe to be opened by Shinryoku Sabo, an award-winning tea company in Mie Prefecture. The cafe’s tea experience includes using a kyuusu, which is a type of small teapot, to brew Isecha green tea. Customers can learn the best way to prepare tea from an in-house instructor of Japanese tea, who will also provide backstory on the tea leaves used. Their deliciously brewed cup can be paired with a variety of desserts like daifuku, maju, cheesecake, and more.
The cafe also sells the “Morning Bottle,” its signature bottled cold-brew tea which is prepared on the day in the early morning. Bottles can be returned to the cafe to be reused, allowing for no waste. Since the tea is cold-brewed, it also contains little caffeine.
Mirume Shinryoku Sabo
Address: 1-36-57 Nagono, Nishi Ward, Nagoya, Aichi 451-0042, Japan
Opening Hours: [8:00-10:00] Morning Bottle only / [11:00-22:00] Cafe & Store
Suzuko Mimori Announces ‘Sugarless Kiss’ Limited-Edition Release
Japanese voice actress and singer has announced that her digital single Sugarless Kiss will be released as a physical limited-edition copy exclusive at Canime on June 16, 2021.
“Sugarless Kiss” Canime Exclusive Edition | ¥2,500 (Tax Included)
The title track is the ending theme for the anime series ODDTAXI in which Suzuko Mimori herself stars as Rui Nikaido. The track was written and composed by PandaBoY who also worked on Mimori’s popular song Doki Doki Toki Doki Toki Kime Kiss♡.
The Canime-exclusive edition includes the title track, a remixed version by PandaBoY, and a Blu-ray featuring the Sugarless Kiss music video which stars Moeka Koizumi and Manatsu Murakami who voice Shiho Ichimura and Yuki Mitsuya in ODDTAXI respectively. This edition also features a different cover photo than the digital release.
Sugarless Kiss – Canime Exclusive
Release Date: June 16, 2021
Buy Here: https://canime.jp/product/SCCG000000078/
Idol Group Tsubaki Factory Features on Tower Records Shinjuku’s NO MUSIC, NO IDOL? Poster
14.May.2021 | MUSIC
In promotion of their upcoming album 2nd STEP, which will hit shelves on May 26, Japanese idol group Tsubaki Factory was featured in Vol.242 of Tower Record Shinjuku’s idol project NO MUSIC, NO IDOL?.
Tsubaki Factory in NO MUSIC, NO IDOL Vol.242
Tsubaki Factory formed in 2015 as members of Hello Project, an all-female idol group project managed by UP-FRONT AGENCY. The eight-member group made their debut with the release of their first single Hatsukoi Sunrise/Just Try!/Uruwashi no Camellia in 2017. In the same year, they receive the Newcomer Award from the 50th Japan Cable Awards.
Their forthcoming 15-track album 2nd STEP will include six singles from their fifth to their current as well as three additional tracks and six brand new ones. Tower Records is handing out posters and postcards to fans who pre-order or buy the record at select stores.
Receive a free NO MUSIC, NO IDOL? poster and postcard
Posters and postcards will be given to fans who purchase any of the three editions of 2nd STEP at the select Tower Records branches below. Available in limited stock on a first-come, first-served basis, those who pre-order the album will be given priority of posters and postcards over those who purchase it after its release.
Participating Branches: Sapporo PIVOT/Sendai PARCO/Shinjuku/Yokohama Vivre/Niigata/Shizuoka/Nagoya PARCO/Umeda NU Chayamachi/Hiroshima/Takamatsu Marugamemachi/Fukuoka PARCO/Naha
2nd STEP will be released in 3 editions
First Press Limited-Edition A (CD+Blu-ray+48 Page Booklet) | ¥8,800 (Tax Included)
First Press Limited-Edition A includes the album, all versions of the music videos from the group’s 5th single to their current release, a Blu-ray featuring a behind-the-scenes shoot of the album cover photos, and an 48-page A4-size photo book.
First Press Limited-Edition B (CD+DVD) | ¥5,500 (Tax Included)
First Press Limited-Edition B includes a DVD featuring the footage taken from a drama event hosted by the group.
Regular Edition (CD) | ¥3,300 (Tax Included)
Get a freebie with your purchase at Tower Records
Purchasing the new album at Tower Records, TOWERmini, or the Tower Records online store will earn fans the below-pictured A4 folder. Available in limited stock on a first-come, first-served basis, those who pre-order the album will be given priority of folders over those who purchase it after its release.
Tsubaki Factory – “2nd STEP”
Release Date: May 26, 2021
Tower Records Official Website: https://tower.jp
MAC Reveals Disney’s Cruella de Vil Makeup Collection
MAC Cosmetics is set to launch its new “Cruella” makeup collection inspired by the Disney villain and fashion icon Cruella de Vil from the Disney classic 101 Dalmatians on May 13, 2021. The collection arrives ahead of the upcoming live-action movie Cruella which is set for release on May 28, 2021.
Disney Cruella Collection by MAC
The collection features nine products that bring to life the Disney villain’s look, whose origin story about aspiring to become a fashion designer will be portrayed by Emma Stone in the upcoming movie which is set in ’70s London during the height of the punk rock era. The line-up combines punk reds with metallic colours, and everything comes packaged in tubes and palettes bearing Cruella’s instantly-recognisable black and white colour combo.
Terry Barber, the Director of Makeup Artistry at MAC, said: “With there being such a huge trend for recycling the more niche counterculture moments of previous decades, this collection feels like MAC returning to a celebration of the kind of DIY styling and brave transformation that originally made it such a maverick brand.”
A Look at the Collection
MATTE LIPSTICK | $21
A rich matte lipstick formula with high-colour payoff and a creamy matte finish in three Cruella-inspired shades.
RETRO MATTE LIQUID LIPCOLOUR | $25
A liquid lipstick that provides a rebellious rush of Disney’s Cruella-inspired colour in a velvety, mattest-matte finish.
PRO LONGWEAR DUAL ENDED EYE LINER | $26
A long-lasting, dual-ended eyeliner featuring creamy, dense colour that glides smoothly across lids.
POWDER BLUSH DUO: CRUEL-LA INTENTIONS | $31
A Cruella-inspired blush duo that provides fantastic colour with ease and consistency.
76 SUPERMODEL LASH | $18
A limited-edition pair of backstage-favourite lashes featuring wispy, full volume for a runway-ready look.
EYESHADOW X 8: CRUELLA TO BE KIND | $45
A magnetic two-piece eye palette packed with a wondrous wave of eight statement shades inspired by the most iconic looks of Disney’s Cruella.
The full collection will drop worldwide this Thursday at MAC.
MAC Cosmetics Official Website: https://www.maccosmetics.co.uk/collections-disney-cruella