Karaoke – Origin and Modern Tradition

CULTURE | July 28, 2019

Tokyo, Japan: With Story Japan-Society-Karaoke. Source: (Photo from YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images - #2784489)

A female patient of a Tokyo psychiatry clinic sings a song with karaoke machine for karaoke therapy at a karaoke room in Tokyo 05 December 2003.

Everyone loves some form of entertainment. There are many tastes and flavors of entertainment served up on a dish according to one’s individual taste buds. Karaoke is one of those forms of entertainment that one either loves or loves to hate. 

Simon Cowell Saying No. Source: (youtube.com)

Karaoke used to be considered a negative form of entertainment but has gained popularity over the years. With the American Idol competitions, if Simon compared a contestant’s performance to karaoke-style, it was a definite insult to them. In fact, it was one of his favorite ways to criticize their performances. 

The “8 Juke” Machine. Source: (theappendix.net)

The Birth of Karaoke and the “8 Juke” Machine

Daisuke Inoue, who was a backup musician at coffeehouses in Japan, came up with the idea of Karaoke after creating a custom recording for one of his clients. He created the recording of just music in order for his client to be able to sing with it as he was unable to be there in person to play for him. He then built a machine with a microphone and speaker that could be used for anyone to sing with. Starting out by renting them to a few small commercial outlets, Daisuke was pleasantly surprised when orders for them began coming in like crazy. 

High Technology Karaoke - Karaoke-Harbin6303733. Source: (en.academic.ru)

Modernized Karaoke

What started off small took on a whole new craze as others took Inoue’s idea and went all out. The sound quality was improved through advanced technology as well as other additional features that included laserdisc video technology. This new technology made it possible for users to see the words on the screen not only in commercial establishments but also on home versions. These newer Karaoke machines far surpassed Inoue’s first machine.

Karaoke entertainment can be enjoyed from many different levels. There is the adult level that is usually in a bar or lounge-type of atmosphere. There are even KTV rooms in various establishments where groups can gather in their own private setting to enjoy not only Karaoke but other forms of entertainment such as billiard tables along with food and drinks.

Karaoke with Friends in Home. Source: (karaokeaisle.com)

The forms of karaoke do not stop with being performed within the confines of commercial establishments. There is the family-oriented karaoke where even the children can participate. Families and friends can get together and enjoy a night of entertainment at home. No more need to hire a babysitter for the evening or spend money on expensive meals or drinks to enjoy the fun of watching or participating in this type of entertainment.  

Karaoke Fun. Source: (businesszeal.com)

There are many types of karaoke machines with either pre-recorded music already loaded in them or option to load separately purchased songs. Karaoke is performed in all genres of music and all styles. Besides just karaoke-ing with friends and family in person, it is now possible to go online and perform against complete strangers in competitions.

Some love Karaoke because they love to sing and actually have singing talent while others love it because they love to sing even though they have zero singing talent. There are still those who just simply love to watch others perform.

Tags: entertainment | karaoke

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Penny Chavers


Penny, besides writing, loves to spend her time with family and friends. In her spare time, she also enjoys playing the piano, board games, and taking online classes on topics that interest her.