Inventor of the world's first commercial karaoke machine: Who is Shigeichi Negishi?

Negishi was in his 40s when he came up with the idea to prototype a mass-produced, coin-operated karaoke machine, branded the "Sparko Box", after a colleague at the consumer electronics assembly business he ran in Tokyo criticized his singing.

By Jane Dickens Published on 18 Mart 2024 : 11:40.
Inventor of the world's first commercial karaoke machine: Who is Shigeichi Negishi?

Until Sparko Box emerged in 1967, karaoke-like activities involved the use of backing tracks provided by live bands or instrumental recordings.

Sparko Box used eight-track cassettes of commercially available instrumental recordings, with lyrics provided in a paper booklet. The business ran into problems and Negishi dissolved the business in 1975. He never received a patent for his invention.

Shigeichi Negishi (November 29, 1923 – January 26, 2024) was a Japanese engineer who invented the first mass-produced karaoke machine. Believing he would sound better with a backing track, he and his staff wired together a speaker, microphone, and tape deck.

Although Negishi was the first person to create a karaoke machine, many people attribute the invention of karaoke to nightclub musician Daisuke Inoue, who independently invented his own karaoke machine in 1971.

Negishi passed away at the age of 100

According to the Wall Street Journal, Negishi's daughter Atsumi Takano said that her father died of natural causes after a fall on January 26.

Who is Shigeichi Negishi?

Negishi was born in Tokyo on November 29, 1923. His father was an official who conducted regional political elections. His mother owned a tobacco shop. As an intellectual young man, he went on to study economics at Tokyo Hosei University.

He fought in the Japanese army during World War II and spent two years in a prison camp after Japan's defeat at Singapore. After retiring at the age of 70, he focused on his hobbies.