Utada Breaks iTunes Top 20

For the first time since the iTunes store went live in the U.S. five years ago, an album by a Japanese artist has debuted in the Top 20.

Hikaru Utada, who goes by the single name Utada outside of Japan, ranked No. 19 after her second English-language album, This Is the One, was released for download March 25 by Island Records. It ranked No. 2 in the narrower Pop category.

Utada’s first non-Japanese album, Exodus, sold only 55,000 copies in the U.S. when it was released in 2004, though it sold more than 1.5 million copies in Japan.

Part of the reason for the better showing this time may be the intense promotional tour Utada has undertaken since the beginning of the year.

Having grown up in Manhattan, the 26-year-old singer-songwriter is perfectly fluent in English and has given scores of interviews over the past month or so.

The physical CD of This Is the One will have a May U.S. release.