Grasshoppers in Japanese Culture

Written by pamela ann ludwig
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Grasshoppers in Japanese Culture
The grasshopper signifies good luck in Japan. (Grasshopper image by Martina Moser from Fotolia.com)

Many animals and insects have specific meanings in Japanese culture and mythology. The grasshopper, along with other insects and small creatures, features prominently in several aspects of Japanese culture. Grasshoppers signify good luck to the Japanese.

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History

Chinese noblemen introduced the practice of listening to "singing insects," such as crickets and grasshoppers, to Japan. The Japanese court particularly enjoyed this form of entertainment, typically as a seasonal event.

Types

Images of grasshoppers often appear in Japanese paintings, such as Shibata Zeshin's painted scroll "Grasshopper and Flowering Vine" from 1880. You can find Japanese good luck charms in the shape of grasshoppers, or live grasshoppers kept as pets.

Fun Fact

Though grasshoppers bring good luck in Japan, they are also a source of food. You can find grasshoppers on the menu at restaurants or buy them individually to cook at home. Grasshoppers are most commonly served fried.

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