The Karaoke Craze

Karaoke (カラオケ) is from the Japanese “kara” ( 空 ) which means “empty”, and “ōkesutora (オーケストラ) which means “orchestra.” In some countries it is known as “KTV.” Karaoke is a form of entertainment where aspiring singers can sing along with their favorite music using a microphone, a public address system, and a TV monitor which displays the songs’ lyrics as a guide.

Singing in a karaoke room | bdu

The Invention of Karaoke

Karaoke was developed by the customization of music recordings. Karaoke is said to have been invented in 1971 by Daisuke Inoue, a Japanese drummer. It was popular in Japan to have live music during dinner parties. There were many requests from party guests for Inoue to provide recordings of the songs he performed so they could sing along to his music. Inoue made tape recorders that would play requested songs for 100 yen per song, and he leased his machines to stores. It soon became a popular means for entertainment.


Japanese karaoke song list | jekert gwapo

Karaoke Bars

Karaoke quickly spread to the rest of Asia and other parts of the world, making it a global success.

Karaoke Apocalypse Bar in Camp Austin, USA | jeckman

Karaoke in Japan has become a part of Japanese culture and society and is extremely popular among the working class. They can spend after work hours at karaoke bars and belt out to their favorite tunes while eating bar food. There are also karaoke rooms where groups of people can sing amongst themselves.

Usually, karaoke machines rate the performance of a singer after every song. Some even measure the calories burnt after a performance. Most karaoke places are open 24 hours.

Karaoke bar at Shibuya, Tokyo | Stéfan

Reasons for its Popularity

Karaoke is successful for a number of reasons. For one, it appeals to a large number of people who love to sing, whether or not they can actually carry a tune. Second, it is also a great avenue for those who want to imitate their singing idols. Another reason for its appeal is that encourages groups of people to get together and socialize. Wherever there is karaoke, the atmosphere is always bound to be lively and entertaining.

While staying in Tokyo for the KCP program, why not visit one of the many karaoke bars with your classmates and friends and belt out a few songs? Remember to share the microphone!