I was watching TV when the topic turned to certain celebrities' ability to beatbox. In talking about this every mention of the term beatbox was


Why is human necessary?
The use of katakana is only natural, but why take a relatively long katakana word and make it longer with a completely unnecessary word?

After going through the links in the answers and comments, I realized it was using ヒューマンビートボックス like this: 俺、ヒューマンビートボックスできるよ! in English I can human beatbox! that made me think it strange.

  • There's also ボイパ(ボイスパーカッション) Commented Oct 6, 2019 at 19:28
  • 1
    Probably the want to distinguish electronic drum machine and humans' imitating drum machine. Commented Oct 6, 2019 at 23:18
  • Never heard a drum machine called a beatbox. A drum machine is a machine beatboxing is done by a person is the only way I had ever heard these terms used.
    – By137
    Commented Oct 7, 2019 at 2:59
  • I am not sure if a drum machine called a beatbox actually exists or not though, "beatbox" sounds like referring to percussion called "Cajon". Anyway, I understand why you are wondering. Commented Oct 7, 2019 at 3:14
  • As a non native English speaker, i can イメージ a Beatbox as a device ("a box that beats").
    – jarmanso7
    Commented Oct 7, 2019 at 8:15

1 Answer 1


The term is a loanword from the English term human beatbox or beat box: a person that makes musical sounds using the human vocal organs. The abbreviated term is beatbox or beat box. The performer is also called a human beatboxer or simply a beat boxer. The word human was retained in the term to enable understanding of its usage within specialized communities and to differentiate its use from the sounds made by machines.

From Wikipedia:

The term "beatboxing" is derived from the mimicry of early drum machines, then known as beatboxes, particularly the Roland TR-808. The term "beatbox" was used to refer to earlier Roland drum machines such as the TR-55 and CR-78 in the 1970s. They were followed by the TR-808, released in 1980, which became central to hip hop music and electronic dance music. It is the TR-808 that human beatboxing is largely modeled after.

  • 15
    Yeah, human beatbox is the original term, so I think it got borrowed into Japanese in its long form. So rather than adding a word, they simply haven't lost the word like we did in English.
    – user1478
    Commented Oct 6, 2019 at 21:45
  • 4
    (〇_〇) I'll never assume anything again for the rest of my life... Seeing the origin, it makes sense that human was used (in English), but I never would have imagined that the "human" part would have remained in use for any amount of time.
    – By137
    Commented Oct 7, 2019 at 2:57
  • 1
    The two terms are still used in English to differentiate how the sound is being made.
    – Jack Bosma
    Commented Oct 7, 2019 at 11:15

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