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#ANONGBALITA Karaoke inventor Negishi dies, 100, family reports

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Who really invented the karaoke? If you ask the Wall Street Journal, it’s Shigeichi Negishi, who died of natural causes on Jan. 26 at age 100 —a fact Japan’s own Kyodo News reported just recently.

Filipinos, of course, will think differently about the music machine they have made their own, giving the credit to the homegrown Roberto del Rosario—president of the Trebel Music Corporation, who developed a sing-along system in 1975 and patented his “Minus-One” in 1983 and 1986.

The WSJ said Negishi was the “first to automate and commercialize the singalong in 1967, although he never patented his creation.” His “Sparko Box” first came to the market in 1967 and is “recognized as the earliest” karaoke machine by the All-Japan Karaoke Industrialist Association.

Negishi is also “the first among five Japanese inventors who independently created karaoke machines from 1967 to 1971,” the WSJ said.

Another man is often more widely credited for inventing the karaoke machine, Kyodo News says—Daisuke Inoue, a Japanese musician, released the 8 Juke karaoke machine to the market in 1971.

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But according to the WSJ, it was Negishi, the founder of a company that assembled consumer electronics such as transistor radios and who liked to sing along with television and radio shows, who in 1967 came up with the idea of wiring a microphone, speaker, and tape deck together and playing an instrumental recording of a song.

In the Philippines, however, Del Rosario won the court battle with a Japanese company that claimed to have invented the system, with theSupreme Court in 2007 declaring that he owns the patent rights to the karaoke machine – four years after his death.

Fun fact: Del Rosario was a founding member of the Filipino amateur jazz band “The Executives Band Combo,” headed by the politician Raúl Sevilla Manglapus and architect Francisco “Bobby” Mañosa. The band started in 1957 and played in gigs all over the world, jamming with the likes of Duke Ellington and Bill Clinton.

Another fun fact: Karaoke is a compound Japanese word from “karappo” meaning “empty” and o-kestura meaning “orchestra.” Sometimes translated as “empty orchestra,” the phrase means something closer to”the orchestra is void of vocals.”

Besides his famous Karaoke Sing Along System, Del Rosario alsoinvented the Trebel Voice Color Code (VCC), the Piano tuner’s guide,the Piano keyboard stressing device, and Voice color tape – among more than 20 inventions during his lifetime, making him one of the most prolific Filipino inventors.

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