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"In their serious but not ponderous study of a worldwide phenomenon, Xun and Tarocco indicate that karaoke can mean different things to different people and within different cultures. It also serves different purposes: to encourage egalitarianism (before karaoke, after all, few people sang in public), to learn foreign languages and improve literacy, for propaganda, and for self-expression. They devote a chapter to karaoke's origins--the common belief is that it originated in Japan, though Filipino inventor Roberto del Rosario holds the sole patent for the karaoke system, and even the Welsh have staked a claim--then look at karaoke fever in Japan and Korea, Southeast Asia, China, North America, Britain, and Europe. The concluding chapter chronicles the increasing sophistication of karaoke technology, including karaoke on the Web, karaoke video games, and karaoke on mobile phones. A cultural study that is simultaneously surprisingly erudite, entertaining, and a lot of fun."