Japanese karaoke is a popular form of entertainment that is growing in popularity worldwide.

But what is Japanese karaoke? Where did it come from? And why is it so popular?

In this article, we will explore the history and culture of Japanese karaoke and how it has become such an essential part of Japanese society.

We will also look at how Japanese styled karaoke is becoming increasingly popular in other parts of the world and what makes it unique. So, if you're curious about Japanese karaoke, keep reading!

What Is Japanese Karaoke?

Sign for a karaoke bar on the side of a building on a japanese street.

Japanese karaoke, or "karaoke" commonly called, is a popular form of entertainment in which people sing to recorded music using a microphone.

The music is typically accompanied by a video screen that displays the song's lyrics. Karaoke bars are a popular nightlife destination in Japan, and many bars and restaurants offer karaoke services.

Some establishments even have private karaoke rooms that can be rented by the hour. Japanese karaoke culture has also been exported to other countries, and karaoke bars can now be found in cities around the world.

Whether a seasoned karaoke singer or a first-timer, Japanese karaoke is a great way to enjoy time with friends and maybe even belt out a tune.

What does karaoke mean in Japanese?

The word "karaoke" actually comes from Japanese, and it's made up of two parts: "kara," which means "empty," and "oke," which is short for "orchestra."

In other words, the karaoke meaning in Japanese is "singing without music," and the word translates to "empty orchestra."

The origin of karaoke

Daisuke Inoue, the inventor of karaoke, holding a microphone with his origional 8 Juke karaoke machine.
The karaoke legend himself with his original 8 juke! Photo Source

The first karaoke machine was invented in 1971 by Daisuke Inoue, a Japanese musician looking for a way to allow people to sing along with pre-recorded music.

Karaoke quickly became popular in Japan and soon spread to other parts of Asia and the world — China and Korea have especially developed their own cultures around karaoke. It was originally simply a way for people to sing along with recordings of popular songs.

However, it soon evolved into a competitive activity, with people vying to see who could sing the best rendition of a song.

Today, karaoke is enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds and can be found in bars, restaurants, and even private homes. It has even been featured in Hollywood films such as "The Joy Luck Club" and "Lost in Translation."

Whether you're looking for a fun way to spend an evening with friends or you're hoping to show off your singing skills, karaoke is the perfect activity.

Check this historical timeline of karaoke to learn even more about its history.

How do you do karaoke in Japan?

Woman singing in a japanese themed karaoke room
Japanese inspired karaoke room at Moyagi

Karaoke bars are found in almost every city in Japan, and they are a popular nightlife destination for locals and tourists alike.

There are some key differences between Japanese karaoke and its Western counterpart.

  • Karaoke is typically done in private rooms in Japan rather than in public venues. This allows people to sing without feeling self-conscious or being judged by others.
  • Japanese karaoke bars usually have various song choices, from traditional Japanese songs to contemporary pop hits.
  • Most karaoke bars in Japan offer food and drink service, so you can enjoy a meal or a drink while you sing your heart out!

Japanese karaoke bars became popular in the 1970s and continue to be a popular destination for Japanese people and tourists alike. They're typically small, private rooms that accommodate up to 20 people.

In a Japanese karaoke bar, customers select a song from a list of hundreds of songs, typically Japanese pop songs.

Customers then sing along with the music from a television or projector screen. Customers can order food and drinks from the karaoke bar staff, and many Japanese karaoke bars offer alcoholic beverages.

Japanese karaoke bars typically have an entry fee per person, per hour.

Karaoke is a popular way for Japanese people to socialize and have fun and is a popular tourist activity in Japan.

Karaoke vs. the rest of the world

Two men facing each other and singing a Spanish song in a Finnish karaoke bar

Karaoke is a global phenomenon that shows no signs of slowing down. It's spread to every corner of the globe, with people of all ages and backgrounds enjoying the fun and excitement of belting out their favorite tunes.

Karaoke bars are standard in cities worldwide, and karaoke machines are a must-have for many social gatherings.

What is it about karaoke that has made it so popular?

For starters, it's an affordable way to enjoy music and entertainment. Karaoke is also a social activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds while practicing language skills.

But most importantly, karaoke is a great way to let loose and have some fun! There's no need to be a professional singer to enjoy karaoke - everyone can join in and sing along to their favorite songs.

Whether in Japan or Finland, karaoke will bring people together and create lasting memories.

While the specific repertoire of songs varies depending on the region and the individual establishment, these are some of the popular Japanese karaoke songs among karaoke-goers.

  • "Hanamizuki" by Yo Hitoto is the number one most sang Japanese karaoke song according to result from DAM.
  • "Sukiyaki" by Kyu Sakamoto is a sentimental ballad about lost love.
  • "Aegean Sea" by Spitz is a catchy tune perfect for summertime karaoke.
  • "Lovers Again" by EXILE was released in 2007 and topped the charts in Japan. It's a great choice if you're looking for a romantic ballad.
  • "Koi Suru Fortune Cookie" by AKB48 is an upbeat tune about following your heart.

The story behind japanese karaoke: in closing

Japanese karaoke is a beloved pastime in Japan, and its popularity is growing worldwide. This article answered the following questions:

  • What is Japanese karaoke?
  • What does karaoke mean in Japanese?
  • Where is the origin of karaoke?
  • How do you do karaoke in Japan?
  • How is karaoke different in Japan than the rest of the world?
  • What are popular Japanese karaoke songs?

If you want to experience this unique form of entertainment for yourself, check out our website to find karaoke venues near you.

Karaoke offers a fun way to connect with friends and family while enjoying some of your favorite songs. So what are you waiting for? Grab your mic and sing karaoke anywhere!