“Maru Maru Mori Mori!,” for a song by two 7-year-olds it’s singing along just fine

“Maru Maru Mori Mori!,” the theme song to the popular television drama “Marumo no Okite,” has just reached a new milestone, as the CD single’s total sales surged past 250,000 copies this week. This is the first time in almost 35 years that a song by a Japanese artist under 10 years old has reached even 200,000 copies.

The song is sung by “Marumo no Okite” co-stars Ashida Mana (7) and Suzuki Fuku (7), under the unit name of Kaoru to Yuki, Tama ni Mook. The last Japanese artist under 10 years old to achieve 200,000 in sales was Kawahashi Hiroshi, who was 8 years old when “Yamaguchi-sanchi no Tsutomu-kun” reached 232,000 copies in June 1976. Including foreign artists, the last one was Emmanuel Lewis’s “City Connection” in July 1981 (338,000 copies).

Released on March 25, “Maru Maru Mori Mori!” entered the weekly charts at #3 and has been in the Top 10 every week since then. This past week, it experienced a big boost, jumping from #9 the previous week (11,072 copies sold) to #2 (66,549 copies sold).

Yuru-Kyara – The Cute Force of Japan

When first-time visitors arrive in Japan, a few things they may notice right off the bat include the juxtaposition of the high-tech and the ancient, the unfailing politeness of locals, and a curious fixation with cuteness — to wit, all the cute mascots that promote regions, historic sites, local specialties and events, the police, you name it.

In recent years, these wildly imaginative mascots have exploded in popularity and profitability, bucking the downward trend of the manga and anime industries that have been declining for a decade. And, unlike multi-billion dollar stars such as Sanrio’s Hello Kitty, this variety known as "yuru-kyara" — which means something along the lines of "cheesy but lovable characters" — earn their keep by drawing attention to a particular place, organization or idea despite, or because of, their lack of polish.

Read the rest of the story: The busy lives of Japan’s super furry creatures.