T-ara's sophomore album, Treasure Box, debuted at No. 4 on Japan's Oricon charts this week with 18, 814 copies sold. It's a huge drop from the 57k that the group's last J-pop album, Jewelry Box, sold in its first week last year, but not a surprising one. K-pop acts have had trouble selling in Japan for well over a year now, and it's the girl groups that have been hit the hardest.
Since its release last November, Girls' Generation's last Japanese album, Girls & Peace, has only sold 237,000 copies, while their self-titled debut --which was released the previous year-- managed to shift 871,000 copies. Meanwhile, KARA's Girls Forever only sold 122,000 copies in the same time period, compared to the 778,000 that their sophomore effort, Super Girl, sold the year before. Don't expect T-ara's Treasure Box to come near those number, though. The group's eventual total for Jewelry Box was 105,000 copies, and at this rate, Treasure Box will be extremely lucky to sell even a third of that.
The only K-pop act in Japan that's really been able to maintain consistent sales if TVXQ, who are actually doing better now than they did when they first debuted in Japan back in 2005. The duo's singles always manage to shift at least 150,000 copies apiece, while their last album, Time, sold 300,000 copies.
As for the rest of Japan's K-poppers, hopefully the sales decline has now stabilized and things won't get any lower. We don't think T-ara could handle another dip like this one.