The Japanese software market topped 1.5 million unit sales last week, with Sony's Hot Shots Golf 4 topping the ranking as sales of the PS2 continued to soar thanks to a recent price cut to the hardware.
Hot Shots Golf 4, also known as Everybody's Golf 4, sold some 264,000 units in its first week on sale, almost double the sales of the previous game in the series, with many of those who picked up the title also buying a PS2 console at the same time.
Behind Hot Shots Golf were three other new releases which sold over 100,000 units each during the week, with Bandai's GBA title SD Gundam G-Generation in at number two, PS2 RPG Wild Arms - Alter Code: F at number three, and Nintendo's GameCube mini-game collection Mario Party 5 at number four.
Other new releases appearing in the top ten this week include Castlevania: Lament of Innocence, which is in at number six - having been released in the USA before its Japanese launch, oddly enough - while Namco's Ridge Racer follow-up, R: Racing Evolution, is at number nine, and Tecmo's Zero: Crimson Butterfly is at number ten.
Probably the title in the top ten least likely to ever see the light of day in the west, however, is Banpresto's PS2 title Mask Rider - Genealogy of Justice, which is based on the long running, hugely popular and, well, woefully awful Mask Rider TV series (also known as Kamen Rider), which is one of the finest examples of Japanese "man in lycra wrestles man in rubber monster suit" television - but remains a firm favourite among Japanese children regardless.
In hardware terms, the PlayStation 2 builds a solid lead over its competitors, with just over 45 per cent market share - well ahead of the Game Boy Advance, which clocks up almost 34 per cent share. The GameCube continues to record decent sales, with 18 per cent market share, but the Xbox has dropped much of the boost it gained in last week's ratings, following a price cut, and manages only a touch over 2 per cent market share this week.