Yes, Japanese karaoke machines will tell you how many calories you used singing.

As you can probably imagine, Japan has some pretty high-tech karaoke systems. In addition to extremely large song selections, most of them also have detailed scoring systems that score you on how well you stayed on the song’s key and rhythm, and there’s another common feedback category: how many calories you burned singing your song.

As a matter of fact, DAM, one of the major karaoke system operators, is even running a contest called the Karaoke Calorie Battle right now, awarding prizes to the users who burn the most total calories during the promotion. Our Japanese-language reporter Ikuna Kamezawa decided to toss her hat into the ring, and so she headed to her local karaoke parlor.

The contest is a joint project with popular anime vocalist LiSA. There are 15 LiSA songs to choose from which go towards your Karaoke Calorie Battle total, so Ikuna went with “Gurenge,” the opening theme for smash-hit anime TV series Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. “Gurenge” gets so much airplay in Japan these days that even people who aren’t necessarily Demon Slayer fans are familiar with it, and Ikuna was able to belt it out with a moderately high level of confidence.

▼ “Gurenge”

Once the song was done, she fired it up again, and followed that up with a third time. After multiple sing-throughs, though, she couldn’t score any higher than 6.8 calories burned.

At this point, Ikuna started to wonder just how the system figures out how many calories you’ve burned, so she called up DAM’s customer service department. The customer service rep told her that it’s calculated based on your voice input into the microphone. There aren’t any hidden cameras in the room watching how intense your dancing is, since DAM is strictly telling you how many calories your singing burned.

Since she had someone with insider information on the line, Ikuna decided to ask how she could burn more calories while singing. The customer service rep gave her three pointers.

1. Before you start singing a line, take a deep breath, so you can sing in a powerful, sonorous voice.
2. Make sure you keep annunciating to the end of each line, instead of letting your voice trail off.
3. Don’t hold the microphone too far away from yourself.

That last one is more a technique to make sure you get properly counted for all the calories you’re burning than to actually increase the number you burn, but still, Ikuna was happy to have a pointer on how to get full credit for her efforts. So once again she started up “Gurenge,” and after following all three pointers her score was…

…8.8 calories, a new personal best!

Hoping to push her score even higher, Ikuna realized that common sense dictates that a longer song means more singing, and thus the potential to use more calories. So she switched from “Gurenge” to some of LiSA’s other songs, like “Beautiful World,” “Hare Butai,” and “Howl.”

But though those songs are longer, Ikuna actually found her calorie scores dropping.

Her best non-“Gurenge” score was 7.9 calories, and she had an idea why. As mentioned above, “Gurenge” can be heard everywhere in Japan these days, so Ikuna’s more familiar with it than any other LiSA song. So when she was singing “Beautiful World” and the others, she was a little more hesitant, and a little more reserved, in her singing, leading to less energy used.

This got Ikuna thinking, if she was burning more calories with “Gurenge” because she knows it better, what would happen if she sang some of her personal favorite songs from across J-pop as a whole, not just LiSA’s catalog?

This called for some X Japan and Luna Sea!

Singing in full force, Ikuna’s power ballad setlist immediately resulted in impressive results, with the best being 9.8 calories!

Unfortunately, those songs aren’t eligible for the Karaoke Calorie Battle. Still, even without Ikuna’s biggest weapons, the contest is based on the total calories a person burns singing the eligible songs, so even at 8.8 calories a pop, as long as Ikuna keeps singings, eventually she can take the top prize, right?

Let’s just take a peek at the current leaderboard. Right now, the person in first place has burned a total of…

…16,860.2 calories?!? Even if Ikuna could hit her LiSA best of 8.8 calories every single time, she’d need to sing “Gurenge” 192 times to catch up.

Ikuna doesn’t see that happening, but at least she knows how to maximize her karaoke calorie burning, which is a nice piece of knowledge to have when her karaoke parlor also has such tasty melon soda and karaage fried chicken.

Related: Karaoke Calorie Battle
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