I noticed カラオケ (karaoke) is always written in katakana on signs/buildings in Japan, despite it being a Japanese word. Why is it not written in Kanji or Hiragana?
As I understand it, the usual reasons for using katakana are things like:
- words with a Western origin,
- to emphasise a foreign/unusual accent/voice or onomatopoeia (especially in manga), or
- for traditional emphasis on words that pre-date Kanji.
But カラオケ is a modern Japanese word (which has been borrowed by English from Japanese, rather than the other way around), so I don't understand why it would be written exclusively in katakana?