Karaoke inventor Shigeichi Negishi dead at 100

Karaoke inventor Shigeichi Negishi dead at 100
via Flash, @Matt_Alt
Ryan General
March 19, 2024
Shigeichi Negishi, the visionary behind the first karaoke prototype, has died at the age of 100.
Key points:
  • Negishi, a Tokyo-based entrepreneur, died on Jan.26 from natural causes, his family confirmed with the Wall Street Journal last week.
  • His 1967 invention, the “Sparko Box” machine, is widely recognized as a key catalyst for Japan’s karaoke craze. 
  • Despite initial public skepticism, his creation became a cultural phenomenon in Japan and later spread globally.
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The details:
  • Inspired by a radio singalong program, Negishi assembled the Sparko Box using a car stereo, a tape deck and a microphone. 
  • The Sparko Box quickly gained popularity in bars, restaurants and homes across Japan. Negishi sold thousands of the device but chose to leave the market in the 1970s.
  • “Karaoke,” which means “empty orchestra,” paved the way for later innovations, shaping the modern karaoke machines we know today. Negishi’s daughter, Atsumi Takano, recalls her father’s pride in seeing karaoke become a global phenomenon. 
  • Negishi never patented his invention, citing complexities in Japan’s patenting process at the time. 
  • Musician Daisuke Inoue, who created the 8 Juke machine, is recognized for helping commercialize the karaoke, as per CNN.
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