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Teen’s ‘Love’ sets Japanese record

Utada disc sells 5.24 million copies

TOKYO — A New York-educated Japanese teenager broke the Japanese album sales record Wednesday with a debut R&B work that has sold 5.24 million copies.

Hikaru Utada’s “First Love,” released March 10 by Toshiba EMI, is the new record holder, said music research company Oricon.

Utada, 17, burst on the Japanese music scene in December with her first single, “Automatic,” which has racked up sales of more than 2 million units. The song is still on the top 20 chart.

Utada has also defied the dominance of TV tie-ins used by almost every other pop act in Japan by refusing to appear on variety shows or give TV interviews.

Her mother, Keiko Fuji, is a popular singer of the enka school, a melodic style steeped in sentimentality and popular with middle-aged Japanese.

Toshiba EMI said it has shipped 6.5 million copies of “First Love” to date.Japan’s previous top-selling album was the 1998 release “Pleasure” from the group B’z .