Karaoke probably is the most popular pastime in Japan. Just checked out a bit of history about Karaoke, here it is.
"Karaoke was created twenty years ago in a small Japanese town called Kobe. One night, a guitarist was unable to make it to a gig in a local snack bar, and the owner played a recording to fill in for him. To make up for the missing guitarist, the owner encouraged the bar's guests to sing the songs with the recordings. Eventually, this evolved into the creation of karaoke kits for home use, but the poorly-insulated and tightly-spaced residences that are common in the country made home karaoke an unpopular activity. Therefore, the karaoke box came into existence in 1984 in Okayama. In karaoke boxes, people can sing as loud as they want without bothering neighbors. The karaoke phenomenon grew and grew and is now popular around the globe."
Adapted from Facts-About-Japan.com
The word Karaoke, literally suggest it is originated from Japan. Based on the definition in dictionary.com, Karaoke is an act of singing along to a music video, especially one from which the original vocals have been electronically eliminated.
So, where's the word 'Karaoke' came from? Karaoke is a combination of Japanese and foreign language, kara (means empty”空” in Japanese) and oke [ comes from the word orchestra (since orchestra pronunciation in japanese is o-ke-su-to-ra, they took the front "oke" as the shortfrom)]. This reminds me of another word I learnt before, u-ru-to-ra-man, any idea of what this word means? Hint : a noun, this word comes across your ear very often. A very famous hero.
When I first stepping into the K-box in Japan, I think I was a bit surprised that they have very old chinese songs on the list, including Leslie cheung, Teresa teng etc. Searching of the song, is based on han-yu-pin-ying (for chinese song) or Hangul (for korean song).
If you're asking me what is the difference between the karaoke in Japan and Malaysia or other countries? I would say there are not much MV you can watch in Japan Karaoke, which means you can hardly watch your favorite artist appears in the MV, instead what appear is somebody else you don't know.
And, the remote control is like a small tv-like touch screen.
When you choose english or chinese or korean songs, there is a line of katakana appeared on the above of each word, which is pronunciation in Japanese.
They even has the Karaoke scoring system and the indication of calories you burn when you sing for each song. It think this is quite interesting. So, please spend some time in K-box when you go Japan, you may have different experience.