Updated: February 26, 2016
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6 Popular Insects Among Japanese Children

Did you know that Japan has culture of liking insects? Many Japanese kids are fond of catching insects when going out in nature. Let's find out what kind of insects are common and popular in Japan!

Popularity of insects in Japan

Cool insects are like a hero among Japanese kids (especially for boys). Even nowadays, many shops sell net and cages for catching insects every summer. I'm not talking about 50 years ago, they are still popular in this high technological society. For instance, there were series of arcade game called 'Mushiking; The King of Beetles' became a massive hit among kids around 2005.

# 1 Firefly (Lightning bug) / 蛍 ほたる

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It is a seasonal event to go by a river and watch the glow of fireflies in the night time of June.

Firefly might be popular in other countries too because of its light. However, it might be bit different in Japan since habits of fireflies really matched Japanese culture of loving fragility.

Such fragility is called '儚さ hakanasa', which is a sense beauty of short lasting.
This explains why Japanese like cherry blossom and fireworks.

# 2 Rhinoceros beetle / カブトムシ 

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Rhinoceros beetle is called カブトムシ (kabuto-mushi) because its head resembles Japanese samurai helmet. It is often referred to as 'the king of insects' from its popularity.

The reason why it's so popular? It is because of the power and strong horn!!

# 3 Stag Beetle / クワガタ

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Stag beetle is also really popular in Japan as much as rhinoceros beetle. As you can see its mandibles is very unique.

Japanese name 'kuwagata' also comes from samurai helmet (see the picture below).
Maybe these two insects' popularity can be explained by the connection to samurai.
Samurai uniform https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%85%9C

# 4 Cicada / セミ

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When you come to Japan in summer, you will soon realize that there are too many cicadas! On every tree you walk by, there are cicadas. When you go to rural cities, you can find kids with net catching them.

If you stay long enough, you can tell that the sound of cicada is gradually changing. In early summer, it will be 'aburazemi', but in the end of summer it will be 'tukutuku-boushi'.

Can you tell the difference of the sounds?

# 5 Dragonfly / トンボ 

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When you go to a field in Autumn, you will see red small dragon flies like the image. People are so familiar with this red dragonfly that there are even folk song about it.

Kids who are good at catching them can even get it without using a net!

# 6 Butterfly / 蝶 ちょう

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Of course, butterfly is popular too. One in the picture is Japan's national butterfly (Though it is rare).
Swallowtail butterfly and cabbage butterfly are more common.

mikkey
6th year uni student! Trying to figure out a way to survive in Japanese society.

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