Cicada as Japanese culture

Over thirty species of cicadas live in Japan and almost everywhere in Japan, cicadas sing their songs in summer, even in downtown of Tokyo or Osaka. So cicada-songs are very familiar to Japanese people.

Their songs are the symbol of hot summer season and used in many movies, TV dramas and TV commercials to express summer or its hotness.

The movie, "Semi Shigure" (based on a novel by Shuhei Fujisawa), whose English title is "The Samurai I Loved", and a TV production of the story was called "Love And War Of A Samurai", cicada-songs are used as a symbol of the scene that the hero carried his father's dead body on cart in hottest summer. "Semi Shigure" means the situation that many cicadas' song/chorus come down from high trees as if rainy shower fall from high. "Shigure" means scattered showers.

In Japan, we can buy some insects, for example, Kabuto-mushi (beetles), Kuwagata-mushi (stag beetles) and Suzu-mushi (bell crickets) etc. in shops. Boys love Kabuto-mushi and Kuwagata-mushi for pets; and many people love Suzu-mushi's song. Though we can not buy cicadas in shops, many Japanese boys collect/hunt them. Cicada-hunting is one of the most popular play of boys in summer holidays in Japan.

This is Japanese culture.

Last Modified: May 23, 2008

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