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RIP Legend! Japanese Inventor of Karaoke Machine Dies at 100



Shigeichi Negishi, the innovative mind behind the invention of the karaoke machine, passed away at the age of 100. The sad news was confirmed by Matt Alt, the author of “Pure Invention: How Japan Made the Modern World,” who shared the announcement on social media platform X (formerly Twitter). Negishi’s daughter, Atsumi Takano, disclosed to The Wall Street Journal that her father passed away due to natural causes on January 26.


Negishi, a former owner of a consumer electronics assembly company, conceptualized the groundbreaking device in 1967, known as the Sparko Box. This invention, which utilized eight-track cassettes featuring instrumental songs with lyrics provided in booklets, later evolved into what we now recognize as karaoke. The term “Sparko Box” stemmed from the flashing lights incorporated into subsequent versions of the gadget.


Reflecting on her father’s legacy, Takano expressed his immense pride in witnessing his idea blossom into a global phenomenon, bringing joy and entertainment through music across cultures. Negishi’s journey into inventing karaoke was sparked by an engineer’s critique of his singing, a moment that catalyzed the creation of the Sparko Box.


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