Karaoke Time!

Karaoke is the best way to either shine or embarrass yourself in front of an audience. For anyone who wants to belt out a tune with a full accompaniment (as opposed to a cappella), karaoke is the answer to your prayers!

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Karaoke is a popular pastime for singing enthusiasts all around the world. The word  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.” 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 that displays the songs’ lyrics as a guide.

Karaoke hall. | tetsuo shimizu

The concept of actually creating studio recordings without any lead vocals is just as old as the recording industry itself. Many singers, amateur or professional, perform using “karaoke” recording because there are times when using a full band or orchestra is not practical.

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Karaoke is hugely popular in Japan because of its appeal to a large number of people who love to sing, whether or not they can actually carry a tune. It is also a great way for many fans of pop idols and singers who want to imitate them. Karaoke, moreover, encourages groups of people to get together and socialize in a lively and entertaining atmosphere. Karaoke is a wonderful way to enjoy and relax after a stressful work day.

Lyrics on screen. | Derek Holtham

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With Japan’s advanced technological prowess, imagine the possibilities of karaoke!  The concept used to be a straightforward way to sing along to your favorite songs.  Then there were  private, cozy spaces called a “karaoke box.” Here people could sing songs along with videos that show the lyrics in subtitles on the screen.

Hanging out in a karaoke box. | Cloganese

Soon, high-tech remote controls in multiple languages were used to replace printed songbooks. The remote controls can sometimes be used to order food and drinks. There are also a variety of private party or function rooms for a group of people to enjoy.

Whenever in Japan, don’t forget to try one of the country’s most popular pastime, karaoke. A wonderful way to experience the unique Japanese culture!