Posted on June 5, 2013
The word Karaoke comes from a combination of two abbreviated Japanese words, “karappo” (kara), meaning empty, and “okesutura” (oke), meaning orchestra. Legend has it that this cultural phenomenon was born 20 years ago at a humble snack bar in Japan’s Kobe City when a guitar player scheduled to perform had to cancel. The bar owner prepared some cassette tapes of recorded accompaniments to play while the vocalists sang, and it was an instant hit. Its popularity rapidly spread throughout Japan, and its success is largely due to the Japanese’ love of parties and, specifically, singing at parties. Large parties have long been a staple of Japanese culture and taking turns singing (regardless of vocal talent) isn’t just a way to liven up the atmosphere, it serves a much deeper purpose. Singing generates camaraderie between strangers and forges a deep sense of human connection in a world where social isolation is all-too-common.
While the thought of singing in front of a room full of people you don’t know might seem more nightmare than fun time, it is something that everyone should experience at least once. There’s a reason why karaoke has become so popular worldwide over the past two decades, and to understand it you need to immerse yourself into this truly unique activity. What surprises most karaoke first-timers is just how fun it actually is, and how embraced they feel by cheering and smiling onlookers. When it comes to karaoke, nobody is expected to be Mariah Carey or Frank Sinatra. In fact, expectations are thrown out the window right along with judgment. It doesn’t matter if you’re a good singer or if you’re completely tone deaf; people love to watch others let loose and belt out cheesy songs with gusto. Let go of your fear of taking the mic and open your mind to the world of karaoke. Chances are you’ll truly enjoy yourself more than you can imagine, and the resulting adrenaline rush just might make you a lifelong fan!