When Japanese Daisuke Inoue was young, he was a drummer in a musical group consisting of young men; the man never expected that he would soon come up with a very important invention. That is why when he invented a device that allowed to sing different songs through a microphone to the electronic music, he didn’t even patent the invention. In more than 30 years, the whole of the world knows perfectly well what “karaoke” is (the translation of the word from Japanese means “music without words”), many people have it at home. However, Daisuke Inoue derived not a yen from sales of the device he invented.
Currently the 62-year-old Japanese is the owner of an office in the suburbs of Osaka. His looks are very much like of a hippie: he wears long hair gathered in a tail. The man is selling another invention of his, a cockroach killer for the karaoke. As the Japanese inventor found out, cockroaches inside the device are in 80% the reasons why “the machine for home singing” breaks.
Daisuke Inoue invented karaoke in 1971 especially for his musical group to perform at parties when tipsy guests often wish to sing some songs themselves. A primitive karaoke machine allowed the musicians to have a short rest during parties when guests enthusiastically sang songs which they liked themselves.
The musical group founded their own company called Crescendo to sell primitive karaoke at the price of 100 yens per a device (it is less than one dollar. In three years, karaoke became extremely popular, and even large companies that liked the idea started producing their own machines of this kind. This resulted in a real karaoke boom. Being a small company, Crescendo tried to fight with the mean industrial giants; but when laser disks appeared in 1987, Inoue and his friends understood that they lost this game.
Meanwhile, it is not right to say that the world doesn’t appreciate the Japanese inventor: once Time called him one of the influential people in Asia, together with Mahatma Gandi and Mao Zedong. But those were the only honors to the man. Daisuke Inoue treats his might-have-been triumph and lost wealth stoically. He says that he is rather indifferent toward karaoke, the same way he was thirty years ago. The inventor says that he tried to sing together with karaoke just four or five times. He says: “Sometimes when I see modern karaoke, I admire this technique. But at the same time I understand that it has no connection with me.”
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://science.pravda.ru/science/2003/6/18/49/5303_caraoce.html