Karaoke it is popular and highly regarded as a type of entertainment for the Japanese. In this article, we will talk about the origin of karaoke, why the Japanese are so fond of karaoke and many other curiosities.
The funny thing is to think that here in the West, karaoke is not very popular. Only a small percentage of people think about this type of entertainment, even though Brazilians like to sing.
The alternatives and cultural differences make traditional Japanese karaoke practically non-existent in the West. What cultural differences are these? In this article, we will see some facts about karaoke in Japan and the West.
The word karaoke [カラオケ or 空オケ] originated in Japan and has no accent. Its meaning comes from the ideogram [空] which means empty and from ookesutoru [オーケストラ] which means orchestra. It literally means empty orchestra!
How Karaoke came to be – Origin
There are several rumors as to how this entertainment equipment came about. It is said to have been discovered about thirty years ago in the city of Kobe. However others claim that it was already known a long time ago, in the fifties and sixties.
It would all have started with an American television show. Television viewers followed a ball that bounced over the part of the song's lyrics that was supposed to be sung on their television screen.
After the appearance on American television, the Japanese would have invented the karaoke as we know it today. In the first twenty years the device existed only in Japan and after that period it spread to the whole world.
However, they also say that the first machine of karaoke, the Juke-8, was built by a Japanese musician and inventor, Daisuke Inoue in 1971. But it would have been a Filipino inventor, Roberto del Rosario, who held the patent. He developed in 1975 the Karaoke sing along system.
How did Karaoke Box come about?
After the emergence of the Karaoke for homes, many sales problems began to appear. In that period when most Japanese houses were built in wood, so when people sang at home at night they bothered the neighbors a lot.
This is the reason for creating thekaraoke boxes”, soundproofed rooms closed with a door. They were usually located along roadsides, where people could sing freely without disturbing anyone.
The first "karaoke box” was built in 1984 in a rice field in Okayama, east of Kansai. Over time they became more common even near cities. Nowadays, anywhere you can find a building full of rooms for people to sing karaoke.
Why do Japanese people like Karaoke Box so much? The explanation for this phenomenon spreading so widely in Japan can be summed up in two words: “privacy and convenience”.
What does that mean? You can be a musical talent or a shower singer, but no one on the outside will listen to you. Thus, it is possible to sing bad, good, rap, rock, jazz, high, low, etc. Only you and whoever is accompanying you will listen.
And usually, it's just your friends or family or something. People you have no inhibitions with. This explains the “privacy” part.
Briefly explaining about the convenience, we can mention the telephone on the wall with a direct line to the kitchen. Usually, and generally, there are these phones or similar devices. These serve you so you can order all the food and drinks you need. This without even having to get up from your seat.
These are some of the reasons Karaoke Box is so popular!
Karaoke in the West
As we know, globalization is not exactly a carrier and diffuser of culture. It often acts as a culture modifier and regulator. To put it better, it can very well change and adjust some aspects of one culture to fit another.
With karaoke, she played the role of modifier. So, when this entertainment was spread in the west, it underwent changes. As we mentioned, in Japan from the beginning there were reserved rooms called karaoke box.
In the west, people have a tendency to be exhibitionists, so most of the time karaoke is in a public place or club. In Japan there is also both karaoke in the house and karaoke bars, but the Japanese prefer to go out in a small group and rent a karaoke box.
Therefore, in the West, karaoke machines moved out of reserved places and were placed in a public place. The Japanese, on the other hand, prefer to stay in a reserved space, which generates the success of karaoke boxes.
Kevin's Note - I agree from experience, I was much more comfortable singing with friends in a karaoke box than in a karaoke bar full of strangers. If I was ashamed, imagine the Japanese?
Another thing that sets karaoke apart in popularity in Japan and the West is its cost. It is not very feasible for a business owner to create several soundproofed rooms if he would make much more profit by putting a karaoke machine in a bar.
Not to mention that a microphone and a stage are paradise for those drunk who lose their shame. However, this truth only applies to people drunk and already a little uninhibited. That's why most karaoke in both Japan and the West offer drinks.
What are the benefits of singing Karaoke?
Singing releases endorphins, these are responsible for the feeling of well being and happiness, making it a natural anti-depressant. It also helps to improve your mood.
Another factor is that when singing the muscles of the body relax and release tension. This reduces the levels of the stress hormone, called cortisol, in the bloodstream. This causes that feeling of stress to be reduced significantly.
In addition to the physiological benefits, increased blood circulation allows for greater oxygenation of the brain. This action increases attention, concentration and memory. It has even been established that the act of singing helps people with dementia and Alzheimer's to retain their memories.
Singing karaoke with your friends can improve your social life. The bonds involved between everyone can be deepened by the degree of intimacy involved in singing in front of others. Not to mention that the act of singing in public will strengthen your confidence. At first, amateurs feel scared and nervous.
But as his performance improves, his relatives and friends recognize him as a good singer, it builds confidence. When you need to make important work or academic presentations, the person will do it with more dexterity and confidence.
Do you like karaoke?
Many Brazilians would say they don't like karaoke because they don't want to embarrass themselves or because it's a show thing. The truth is that everyone likes to sing, but they don't admit it, a proof is in the success of apps like smule.
Not to mention that most Brazilians sing the songs without looking at the lyrics accompanied by a sung version. I think most Brazilians prefer to sing a song listening to a song than singing the lyrics accompanied by an instrumental version.
What's your opinion, do you like to show off and show your musical talent? Or would you prefer oriental-style, more reserved karaoke? Leave your comment. If you have any questions, suggestions or anything like that, please leave a comment.
Also, share the site on social media, it helps a lot. Anyway, thanks for reading this far, until the next article. In this link there is another article where the author talks a little more about the subject. We made this article based on some statements by this author.