Sunday, January 27, 2013

Karaoke in Japan

Today, I enjoyed Karaoke.

Karaoke means a hobby to sing along music without vocal recorded in advance.
In Japan Karaoke culture was born in 1970s. And in 1980s “Karaoke Box”, that is specialized store which equip several rooms with Karaoke machines, were established.
Japan is narrow country. So noise with singing loudly was a big problem. I think soundproofing of Karaoke Box was preferred in Japan.

Singing is a fun. But in other country Karaoke is not so popular. In Europe, dancing may an alternative of Karaoke, I think. In Japan dancing culture is not spread so widely except partial cluster like “Disco” or “Club”.

Recently, Karaoke culture has changed in some points.
With spread of internet connection, variation of songs available in a Karaoke Box was increased massively. Laser disc were replaced by internet downloading from central server for the purpose of playing the background music.
Japanese animation culture also aided spread of Karaoke. Pasela group Karaoke Box store has the largest number of equip songs available. In Akihabara 3 stores of Pasela has opened in Akihabara, a city for geek. Many animation songs tend to occupy the hit chart of songs now.
(Website of Pasela Group: in Japanese)

Now there are over 9,000 Karaoke Box store in Japan. But number of Stores is decreasing in last 2 decades. In 1996 there were nearly 15,000 Karaoke Boxes in Japan. I guess a reason of decreasing of Karaoke Box is diversification of hobby.
(Current situation of Karaoke Boxes by Karaoke Association in Japan: in Japanese)

Some services are available to play Karaoke at home. Actually, I used one of them in 1990s. But the quality of sound was far from satisfactory. In future, I guess many people will play Karaoke with social networking.

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