The word karaoke means "empty orchestra" in Japanese. It's actually a portmanteau of the words kara, or "empty," and okesutora, or "orchestra." The concept of karaoke was invented in 1971 by Daisuke Inoue, who was tone-deaf. Daisuke made almost no money from his invention, however, because he failed to patent it.
More facts about karaoke:
- According to Rolling Stone magazine, the most popular karaoke song of all time is "Jessie's Girl," originally by Rick Springfield. Another poll found that the most hated karaoke songs were "Macarena," "I Will Always Love You" and "I Feel Like a Woman."
- There are several annual international karaoke championships, including the Karaoke World Championship, which requires contestants to go through national trials before making it to the grand finale. Winners receive medals and, in at least one case, one million traditional Russian dumplings.
- Karaoke is a major cultural force in much of Asia and is one of the main ways that many people have fun when they go out. Karaoke bars range from the very basic to the extremely luxurious — some offer full buffets and restaurants, fully stocked bars and limousine service to and from the bar.