I was told from some Japanese Singers who travel and stay abroad, that after returning to Japan they felt their throat had become tight and that their larynx had fallen into a deeper position. These Japanese Singers had no prior issues and claimed to have performed brilliantly overseas. They asked me,”what could have caused this and how could they have prevented this from happening?”
One of the reasons is surely because of the language exchange difference. Their vocalization habits changed when they started speaking bilingually or even switching to solely to another language temporarily. Their normal routine was that they spoke only Japanese in Japan. When on tour and travelling that vocalization reflex and the muscles surrounding their normal speaking routine was different. So different that it strained and had an negative impact on their throats’ status and condition. Let’s breakdown how Japanese is vocalized.
You need to vocalize every single letter when you speak Japanese.
For example, when you say (good morning) “Ohayou”, you have to vocalize “O” “h” “a” “y” “o” “u” respectively.
In the case of the Expat Japanese Singers’ vocalization, the musculus extrinsic laryngis became tired, then hardened, eventually getting more difficult for them to vocalize both singing and speaking.
English and French native speakers usually vocalize whole words at a time smoothly, without pausing. That form is similar to singing, because the speaker is not vocalizing each letter, the sound has a flow to it. No wonder why the Expatriate Japanese Singers had hardened throats when returning back to Japan – The drawn out vocalization had exhausted and overwhelmed their throats.
Let’s look at two different approaches to running the 100-meter dash, running 100 meters without stopping compared to stopping/pausing every 10 meters. The latter definitely uses more muscle.
Note1:Japanese climate is very high in temperature and humidity compared to California or Italy. When inhaling, the vocal folds and the soft tissues of the resonance chamber are moisturized by the humid air. Less activity of vocalization causes excessive muscle tension and makes you feel like the vocal cord is heavier.
Note2:Furthermore, like the Japanese Singers, most people take a plane to enter and leave Japan. I think their vocal cords got swollen during the dry flight from the cabin air, which contributed to their voice problem.