Why does Japan actually like the super loud, constantly buzzing sound of cicadas?

For many people in Japan, there’s no more welcome sound than the incredibly loud whining buzz of the seasonal insects.

Japanese culture has a deep appreciation for the changing of the seasons. That’s why you’ll often hear people waxing poetic about koyo, the red leaves of autumn, yukimiburo, open-air hot springs surrounded by blankets of snow in winter, and sakura, the cherry blossoms that bloom each spring.

Oh, and of course, the mi-n mi-n of summer, referring to cries of the cicadas. Yes, the loud buzzing of the creepy-looking insects, which to the uninitiated can sound like the whine of electrical power lines, is music to the ears of many Japanese people.

▼ As proof, here’s a 90-minute video made up of pretty much nothing but cicada cries that has over four and a half million views.

So why does Japan have such a soft spot for cicada (or semi, as they’re called in Japanese) sounds? To get a better idea, I asked the members of our Japanese-language writing team.

Casey: “Hey, so I was wondering how everybody feels about the sound cicadas make.”

P.K. Sanjun: “I love it. Well, not so much the sound itself, but the way it makes me feel. It’s like, ‘Yep, summer is here!’”

Go Hatori: “Love it! Totally gets me into the season. If I don’t hear them, I start to get uneasy, like we’re going to miss out on having a proper summer.

Takahashi Harada: “Yeah, it’s part of the summer atmosphere, so I like it.”

Masanuki Sunakoma: “I love the cicada sounds! I like them so much that I wish they’d sing even more, even in the winter! I guess it’s because I like summer so much. Ah, but it kind of freaks me out when cicadas cling to my screen door, so I wish they’d stop doing …continue reading