Hello, this is TORA.

For young people in Japan, one of the most popular places to have fun is ”karaoke”.
It has been widely popular among both men and women, from middle school students to regular workers around their 40’s.

The history of karaoke

Foreigners love Japanese karaoke!

Many foreign tourists who visit Japan have wanted to visit Japanese karaoke, which has been hugely multiplying in numbers in the last couple decades.

Karaoke’s history is actually pretty short.
It’s still quite unclear as to how it exactly came about, but the general consensus is that it began around when audio recordings became widely available to the people, who could then freely playback the sound source.

One of the most well-known theories is that it first
appeared when people in the broadcasting industry started looking for ways to cut down on expenses that went into hiring musicians for background music. And from there, in around the 1980’s, there sprung private-owned karaoke boxes that provided space for people to sing in (with a charge).
At first, many people shunned these places, thinking that singing in front of people without even being drunk was an extremely embarrassing thing (which was typical Japanese thinking). However, the bolder, younger generations were much more aware of the fun of singing in front of other people.

Before it was supplied to the majority of the public, karaoke was mostly seen in hotel banquets and snacking corners.
It’s very likely that at the time, it was meant for drinkers.
Quite some time has passed ever since, and now, karaoke is widely enjoyed by people of a wide range of ages, from middle school students to businessmen.
Nowadays, there have even been game consoles that have karaoke functions, so that people can enjoy singing in the comfort of their own homes.

The future of karaoke

How would karaoke turn out to be in the future?

There have been derivations and new services that have sprung from karaoke.
One example is ”Hitokara”.

This is a new word that is short for: “Hitori karaoke (karaoke alone)”, and just like its name suggests, it’s a karaoke box for one person.
It is a useful service suitable for people who don’t have partners to join them, as well as for those who just want to sing however they want.
Some people use it to kill time, while some people use it to practice their singing. It goes without saying that there are far more reasons why people use it.

Moreover, many karaoke stores nowadays also function as restaurants; some places even offer all-you-can-eat and all-you-can-drink services.
And since some stores are very serious about their dishes, it may be a good idea to order some food on your next visit to a karaoke, especially if you find something interesting on the menu.

From mysteriously huge parfaits to overly proper pasta, as well as Russian roulette cream puffs, there are many things you can enjoy at the karaoke.
(Some karaoke stores have a sumptuous range of drinks.)


In this way, the charm of karaoke that is familiar to Japanese people is a wonderful thing.
Have you also deepened your understanding of karaoke a bit further as you read this article?
I hope that you can enjoy karaoke in Japan in the future.

That’s all for today.

Otsukaresama deshita.