The Cicadas of Motomachi Park

Singing insects

By Reynald Ventura    - 2 min read

One time, I met a young boy catching cicadas by the river: “The singing cicadas, what do you think, are they male or female?”

“Of course,” he replied with extreme confidence, “they are male. Only male cicadas scream.” I wanted to engage this proud boy further but he and his friends were in a hurry to catch more insects. I wanted to ask him: “And why do you think they sing so loudly?”

As I sat under the majestic keyaki (Japanese zelkova) tree in Motomachi Park, I pondered this question: Do they sing to attract females? Do they scream out of frustrations? It is said they live only for a week after spending seven years underground.  

Do they sing loves songs or songs of lament or both? Do they cry out to celebrate? I do not know.

In this film, the abura zemi (アブラゼミ) are singing. There were also higurashi (ヒグラシ) or evening cicada in the park. Their song is more melodious and pleasing to hear but they usually sing in the evening.

In my room, I have some expired abura zemi lying about on my window ledge. They’ve been resting there for years but to my surprise ants have never bothered to nibble them.

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Reynald Ventura

Reynald Ventura @reynald.ventura

I have a little garden: slightly bigger than the forehead of a cat. I grow herbs: parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme, and mint, and lemon grass, and lavender, and basil. Occasionally, I cook for myself. Sometimes, my Japanese wife and my daughter like my cooking. I come from the Philippines – it is said that there are more than seven thousand islands but I do not own one. I’d love to, though. I always carry a camera with me – in my walks, journeys, and wanderings. Most of the time, I’m home – staring at Fujisan and writing something.

Join the discussion

Preethu 2 years ago
There are a lot in my place. But sometimes its very annoying when cicades are more in number.
Reynald Ventura Videographer 2 years ago
I have never been annoyed by them, Preethu-san. As a matter of fact, I have always wondered why are they so happy singing.
Elena Lisina 2 years ago
I like the sound! We don't have cicades where I live - too cold for them!
Elena Lisina 2 years ago
Only one month? I had the idea that they sing all summer long! But it's August!