By Dot Hosterman Photos By Bob Dunham and Kathy Somers
You may have noticed some new dissonance coming from the Tree Top Lounge on the third Wednesdays of the month. JKV residents have been displaying their vocal chops with a new addition to the Tree Top Lounge – the Singing Machine STVG-988 Karaoke System.
Karaoke has been popular in the United States since the 1990s; however, its roots sprouted long before . . . in Japan. Karaoke is a combination of the Japanese kara, meaning empty, and okesutura, meaning orchestra. According to www.karaokescene.com, one legend credits its origins to the Japanese culture of business people partying with sing-a-longs in bars after work. Also, people were encouraged to sing at get-togethers in private homes. Japanese culture required generous applause and polite manners even when the singer wasn’t very good. Another legend has it that when a singer/guitarist didn’t show up for his gig in a Kobe bar one night, the owner played musical “tapes” and encouraged the customers to get up on stage to sing.
Legends notwithstanding, by the late 1960s with the advances in audio-visual recording technology, several Japanese inventors started toying with the idea of karaoke machines. Japanese businessman Daisuke Inoue is considered to be the inventor of the modern karaoke machine. By 1971, his 8 Juke Karaoke Machine was in high demand across Japan. He sold 25,000 machines, but never applied for a patent. The patent holder of the karaoke machine is Roberto del Rosario, from the Philippines. He developed the karaoke’s sing-along system in 1975 and is recognized as the sole holder of a patent for a karaoke system.
Further innovations with laser disk and CD graphics have made karaoke a major entertainment industry.