Karaoke, a mass leisure for Japanese music lovers カラオケ
Try karaoke, the Japanese favorite pastime
In Japan, karaoke is more than just entertainment: it is a real institution, a mass hobby, and an extremely popular activity. Private rooms are everywhere, and not just in big cities. Check out the Karaoke scene in Japan, where it all started!
The origins of karaoke
Legend has it that it appeared by chance, in the mid- 1970s, in a bar in Kobe or Osaka, as the owner decided to prerecord the music on a cassette tape for the customers to sing along due to strike by the musicians... hence, the term"karaoke" "empty orchestra " (空 + オ ー ケ ス ト ラ, "karaoke") was born out of spite by the striking musicians.
Furthermore, Karaoke played a big part in the digital revolution as the emergence of the compact disc would thrust the industry into a global craze!
Here it spreads in the Archipelago in the 80s, meeting a huge success. Today, almost all Japanese practice karaoke, with colleagues or friends, to have a good time, or even to celebrate the signing of a contract. The country has around 10,000 establishments specializing in a business that generates 8 million euros per year. Karaoke is undoubtedly one of the favorite pastimes of young Japanese people.
- Read also : Top 5 best karaoke bars in Tokyo
How does a karaoke session take place?
In Japan, karaoke is very different from what we know in our home countries and is in the form of small private rooms, depending on the size of your party. A minimum of two mics will be provided to you with seats facing the screen accompanied by food and drinks!
Once in your private room, you can order your drinks and snacks via the telephone placed on the wall to place your order. Many establishments are offering "all-you-can-drink " or nomihôdai (飲 み 放 題) menus.
You can find Karaoke chains everywhere in all major Japanese cities. The ones that you will come across most often and which are the most famous are Karaoke Kan, Big Echo, Uta Hiroba, or Cote d'Azur.
Japanese karaoke prices
Here are some tips concerning the bill: You will have the choice between paying by the half-hour (the easiest to set up at the counter) or requesting a time free (free time), that is to say, you can stay as long as you like, until closing (usually around 5 am).
- Read also: English words used in Japanese
Prices vary depending on the time of day (day or night), but also the day of the week, Friday and Saturday being the most expensive days. For example, it is always much cheaper at 4 p.m. on a Wednesday than on a Saturday at 9 p.m...
The prices also vary according to the establishment, but also the locations. As a rule of thumb, the two-hour singing will cost a minimum of 1,500 yen ($13/11.50€) per person, excluding drinks, but prices can be higher with consumption.
What are the songs in karaoke?
International variety, J-pop, enka (romantic song), there is something for everyone, and the selections are available through touchpads, available in English as well. There is usually two major karaoke software installed on tablets: JoySound and DAM. We advise you to specifically ask for a room equipped with the JoySound system, which is easier to use and with a larger selection of English songs.
Once the tablet is on, you can browse through the groups, the biggest hits, or search by title. Pop, rock, reggae, metal, rap, R'n'B... from the Beatles to a few rare French songs by Gainsbourg, there is something for everyone to have a good time.