The word “˜karaoke’ comes from “˜kara’, empty (as in karate – empty hand) and “˜oke'(short for okesutora), orchestra. Rather than including both vocals and music, karaoke tracks only have the music.Vocals are provided by a live person, not a professional, who holds a microphone and sings while following the words displayed on a screen or in a book.
The history of karaoke
From such insignificant beginnings, karaoke has spread, not just throughout Japan, but also throughout the world and the term “˜karaoke’, while pronounced differently, has been accepted into common language usage.
While most people agree that it started in Kobe, the origins of karaoke are obscure. One story claims that a snack bar owner, when a performer failed to appear, put on tapes of music and asked people if they wanted to sing.