Japanese Cicadas: Sound of Nature or Noise Pollution?

  • What is Japanese summer made of? Sun that sets late (up to 8:30 pm), freaking high temperatures, effing humidity, and, of course, Cicadas. Some Japanese really love cicadas and enjoy their sound as they think like for sakura, it is a short time gift from nature. How about you?


    Author’s photo

    Japanese people often relate cicadas to summer, when these “singing” insects come to life and invade the silence of time, all day long.

    All About Cicadas

    Japanese Semi


    “Semi (セミ)” in the local language, cicadas stay in trees and shrubs and make a kind of sound that will make your eyebrows meet and your ears up. There are many kinds of cicadas (more than 1,500 species) and each of these makes a different sound altogether like nature’s undefeatable rock and roll band. Unlike humans where usually the females create more (unnecessary) sounds, (as a disciplinarian mother and wife are), male cicadas produce these sounds.

    Sound of Nature


    Some like the sound that cicadas make and consider it as nature’s gift. When cicadas start to “sing”, it signals people the onset of summer. And for the summer lovers, it is a great thing. “It’s music to the ears”, one friend said. ” It’s the sound of summer! I love summer”, said another.

    Noise Pollution


    There are also those who are not pleased with the existence of cicadas. “I hate cicadas! They are very noisy”, I heard one say. “They’re so annoying!”, “I can’t sleep well”, “We should cut this tree, so they have no more place to stay”, are some of the lines of those who dislike cicadas.

    For me, because I deeply value the sanctity of silence (especially when I need to sleep, read and write) I’d rather live in a place where cicadas don’t exist. There should be no trees or shrubs near my house. I won’t care too much if they live in a tree kilometers away, far enough not to ring my ears.

    Have you heard the sound of cicadas? You may want to listen to their music here and you decide whether it’s a sound of nature or a noise pollution.