Broiler – Crematorium: Cicadas

2015 Tokyo.


An early riser in the Azalea Hills residential area can enjoy the chirping of birds without the incessant sound of cars or constant roar of running trains in a so-called sleepless city. The fluorescent light of the elevated Forever Forest Upper Field, however, draws a shiny horizontal division in the dim grey sky. The night never gets pitch black and above the fluorescent shining horizon only the upper part of big concrete buildings can be seen. When the dawn approaches with grey violet rays in blue grey sky — the thin lines of moments that part night and day, the brief moments when even the facades of industrial revolution propagated reinforced concrete buildings take on different hues — the horizontal fluorescent light keeps its aggressive existence.

It is the luxury of living in a high-end residential area where there are trees for birds to nest and, in summer for cicadas to fest. Yes, the detestable sticky sultriness felt on human skin, which comes with the rising summer sun is a warning. Cicadas will begin their maddening shrilling chorus when the heat reaches a certain level.

The maddening chorus has a 300 year tradition of being appreciated. It is a cultural marker for the Japanese summer. And that is about to get buried.

Mean to cicadas, mean to humans.


For one, cicadas are evicted.

It seems they are penalized for not paying the rent.

So cicadas choruses are not heard so much in Tokyo and thus it is difficult to be driven nuts by it or appreciate it. The species are endangered in Tokyo and not by the wilderness of the nature but by Simple Rule management.

The simple rules are: Japanese nationals are those who believe in the following:

  1. A) Give money. If not, die — an individual without money is better off dead. Don’t even think of leaving. This is Simple Rule management in peace mode.
  2. B) Make sacrifices. Give your life. If not be ready to be killed — individuals are worth less than nothing if they were living in a different world. Don’t even think of leaving. This is Simple Rule management in war mode.

It is a democratic modern feudalist restoration government. The land is the nation’s; people (and all creatures) are of the nation, but the nation is not of the people. Remember the chain of being, Japanese authority – the Simple Ruling nation — first, Japanese people second, human and creatures last. Somehow it is construed that the above was agreed democratically by its citizens. And the restoration calls by the authority are to enhance the national, cultural, psychological, and linguistic structures of the chain of commands for Japanese identities to instantly become a mobile military unit. The authority decides the enemy to defeat, the order will be given, no question allowed, and obey.

Cicadas failing to pay has its consequence — the earth to lay eggs goes grey — paved in asphalt or concrete, and trees for the hatched to climb are chopped down for more grey establishments without gardens, without space for trees.

Yet in the Azalea Hills area, extremely highly dependent on the longevity of the owners, — banzai[1] wishes to the owner — long live the owner! — cicadas still have the earth — their origin point. It is the earth that gives birth to nymphs, and nymphs, they work their ways up the trees. Then they reach the passing out of the body, unwinged, but eager to soar[2] phase to air the heavenward pilgrimage.[3]

Cicadas are beautiful singers, they used to be men, says Socrates. These men rose out of this world[4]the mean world. Each man gazing on the Muses and feverishly singing, forgetting to eat and drink, died the cold mortal death. Each one, however, experienced a shudder that passes into an unusual heat and perspiration; for, as he receives the effluence of beauty through his eyes, the wing moistened …[5][6] The singing men became the higher knowledge seeking being always singing — cicadas.

Maybe years later — nymphs crawl out, climb the trees, shed the husk, dry their wings, and begin their heavenward pilgrimage singing — but there is a limit to life even in the nation where people enjoy longevity. Enjoy longevity! What hypocrisy. If not bed-ridden, under a bridge near the Bubble Towers can be found rows of cardboard houses of the insignificant elderly. They live in poverty hiding. As much as one wishes, mass cicada-cide is getting close every day no matter how healthy the owner is. As of now though, future cicadas have the chance of using their sound producing organ, tymbal.

Cicadas are good, they roll and rumble the tymbal, a brilliant naming — a hybrid of the two percussion instruments, timpani and cymbal. Male cicadas work hard and the tymbal sounds blast at their top because their sexual libido is at the peak. Each male is whacking his tymbal hard, desperately wishing a female to show interest in him. All she has to do is flick her wings and the chosen male will prostate to come close to her.[7] Cicadas play with life, they play for life. They have a two-week life span and seven years underground.

And two, Simple Rules won’t encourage people to learn to appreciate cicadas.


Meean mean mean meeeannn … cicadas shrill signaling the beginning of another day of an irritating hot humid Azalean Hills’ summer. The roaring sounds of the first train accompanied by mechanic loudspeaker announcements bring back the reality of the routine commute ahead. And in the brief moments before the departure from the azalean space, the early riser lets the cicadas voices-noise sublime into silence. She enjoys the adventure. Basho captured it, the stillness in the loudness of cicadas, then it was passed on to people of that region. These people shared the thrilling excitement in the shift of psychological perceptions that made it biological experience.

It was on July 13, 1689, no, it was May 27th of the 2nd year of Genroku. People of the region went by the lunar calendar then, and the time-warp shock came on December 3rd in the 5th year of Meiji. A forced reboot, the resetting of the calendar into a different cultural system occurred; it was part of the Meiji Restoration, and the next day was the 2nd day of January in the year 1872 in the Gregorian calendar.

Anyway on that day — whichever day it was — Basho, that is his haiku penname, climbed some thousand steps up to the holy mountain temple standing high on the stones and there cicadas were loud closer to heaven. So loud. Good for him, Basho was able to capture it, materialize it before it fled out of his creative mind. He entered it into his journal of travel, which was later published as The Narrow Road to Oku.

The stillness; /The voices of the cicadas/ Penetrate the rocks.[8]

Basho got it, the loudness overwhelming then becoming still in silence. That Mr. Matsuo is intelligence. That is being creative.

While knowing nothing has changed but the layers of perceptive dimensions of hers have changed the acoustic experience. A hot summer day is about to break off from her azalean time. Thanks for empowering her with that perception. It makes her life worthwhile. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable.[9] Life is lost without. … Tamed is the dawn hidden rebel gratified in silence. Don’t lose it. Keep practicing. Cicadas grounded — poverty awaits.

A cicada gay/
Sang the summer away,/

And found herself poor/ By the winter’s first roar./

Of meat or of bread,/
Not a morsel she had!

So a-begging she went,/
To her neighbour the ant,…[10]


Regain Japan[11] from the past, then Japan will flourish at the center of the world.[12] Regain Japan – this is a battle to gain Japanese nation back to the hands of Japanese nationals from the post-war history[13] and to bring ‘strong Japan’ back[14].

The restoration campaign goes on. Japan as number one — it wants the nationals to be passionate and energetic about it, and for it — Meiji Restoration aspiration.

It is the ideology — by now melodrama-contaminated-ideology. Prime Minister Abe presents himself as altruistic: I am willing to dedicate all [15] for that ideology.

He goes to the United States and makes a speech on February 2013.

Secretary Armitage, here is my answer to you. Japan is not, and will never be, a Tier-two country. That is the core message I am here to make. And I reiterate this by saying, I am back, and so shall Japan be.

Japan is back. Keep counting on my country.[16]

The restoration campaign of his Japan is kept and/but facing reality, the Prime Minister Abe knows not to say “my country wants to be the lord country to you, USA,” but says he wants his country to be a good partner to you, USA. The speech in general was well received in both countries. A good psychological trick worked.

Japan! Be proud of yourself in the “center of the world.”[17]

Somebody is calling to Japan in English. This is written on Abe’s coauthored book written in and for Japanese in 2013, the same year he made the speech. The psychological trick of this message is that it seems that the international world (English is equated to the international world in Japan) is encouraging, even supporting, the restoration campaign to Japanese readers of the book. It is meant to rouse Japanese. If it was meant to be a Japanese voice to the international world, then it is too belligerent and arrogant. Either way, the self-generated English message by the authors? publisher’s? shows the caring for other non-Japanese existence doesn’t really exist. The aim is for Japan to be the most advanced. To increase actual economic growth, to get Japan back to our hands, and make a big change. I will pull it off. — Shinzo Abe[18]


And to the marchers, it doesn’t matter any longer what the Simple Rules’ ideology management says. A passive fight they are putting up, maybe. Preserved as living dead like preserved flowers — they fake living. In the making process, flowers are soaked in “ethyl alcohol,” then soaking them in “polypropylene glycol,” “followed by a rinse with ethyl alcohol” and then some are artificially dyed.

The flower preserving process is a relatively new technology. It began in 1991 and it has been successful in the market.[19] The dead flowers last longer, they are beautiful, they are like fresh flowers, they make money, but they won’t live again. The Simple Rule governed humans are faking living. They have been soaked with Simple Rules’ death preferable than having life and surviving in different worlds. Then soaked with Simple Rules’ work ethic to dysfunction the humanity development. Following rinsing is autopilot implementation. These preserved living dead state beings make money.

Now the management is subsidizing engineers for developing artificial dyes to rouse the fake living marchers. They need a new wake-amine to “keep them awake and dispel torpor[20].” Philopon, coined from the two Greek words  philo- (love) and  ponos (labor) showing the intent virtue of the medicine, was the bestselling brand among many other wake-amines — legal meth sold by Dai Nippon Pharmaceuticals during WWII. It didn’t require any prescription; get it at any drug store.

People loved hiropon, it is said that it was because the sound hiropon matched their need also — hiro meant fatigue and pon indicated an instant dissipation of it. Food was becoming scarce and people could go on without much food intake … It made life easier to sacrifice for the noble cause. At the very end of the dosage section it says “no eminent addictiveness to the medicine is known, and, of course, no withdrawal symptoms exist.”[21] Of course, that was not the case.

Anyhow, marchers need some sort of doping to keep them industrious. After wake-amines became illegal in 1951, a whole array of quasi drugs appeared — energy booster drinks, Regain[22] included, nutritional drinks, and stay-awake drinks. Today these drinks occupy rows of shelves at convenience stores, supermarkets, and drug stores. The sales are growing but the effects are waning. Could it be that the World Health Organization (WHO) campaigns restricting alcohol consumption and tobacco are working against raising spirit? The dosage needs to be adjusted maybe. Or –

Is it the faint memories of anger from being evicted and giving up on azalean space? Is it from the despair when extermination in the system is preferred to surviving in different systems? Japanese men in their twenties and thirties are showing traits that are called “herbivore” or grass eaters. They don’t want to have sex; enculturation overriding the biological make-up at the height of their potency. They have “little interest in reproducing,” and “often even being too physically tired to have sex.” Starting a family? Forget that.[23] These future-less, future-denying identities that are committed to guised suicides are rapidly increasing. It looks like a silent genocide is going on.

And the herbivores march on weakly, nevertheless, faithfully. Not many other options, being cultivated as idiots, this is the only place they know, the only place for them to live, and thus they march on.

In spite of all the enforced physical and mental primitiveness of the life in a concentration camp, it was possible for spiritual life to deepen. Sensitive people who were used to a rich intellectual life may have suffered much pain (they were often of a delicate constitution), but the damage to their inner selves was less. They were able to retreat from their terrible surroundings to a life of inner riches and spiritual freedom. Only in this way can one explain the apparent paradox that some prisoners of a less hardy make-up often seem to survive camp life better than did those of a robust nature[24]

The words of a Nazi concentration camp survivor are idle echoes in the air.


… The sun hits hard through a window and the inside of the air tight concrete container — a living room without insulation swells with heated air. Beads of sweat form on her forehead and her T-shirt is damp. It is the time to put on her auto-pilot to start another day of living dead serving the profit-seeking ideology and to supply a living for the family. A desperate action of Simple Rules to revive their Japan kicks in. Ditch the humanities[25] for money.

[T]he Abe administration plans to reform the national university system by telling schools to abolish departments in fields deemed less useful to the industrial world,

Specifically, it said national universities should reorganize, including by abolishing their humanities departments, and place more emphasis on fields that have greater demand in society as the population of 18-year-olds continues to dwindle.

The idea is actually being pushed by the powerful Finance Ministry, which is trying to refill Japan’s debt-ridden national coffers via the education ministry.

“Rather than deepening academic research that is highly theoretical, we will conduct more practical vocational education that better anticipates the needs of society,” Abe said at the keynote speech for the council meeting of Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development in May 2014.[26]

Cicadas’ carcasses broil on the concrete paved road. Rhythmical marching footsteps milled them, their remains-ashes became dust, and the Muses dissipate.


Appendix – Studies on cicada

  1. A) Inward buckling of the tymbal generates a loud click with a dominant frequency around 4 kHz. Resonances close to 4 kHz can be demonstrated in a buckled-in tymbal when driven by internal sound or by vibration at the tymbal plate. These resonances occur in sealed cicadas and those in which the abdominal air sac has been opened at both its anterior and posterior ends, which shows that the resonances are not due to the air sac; the tymbal itself is a resonant system. The maximum amplitude of tymbal vibration occurs at the V-shaped dimples in the centre of the long ribs. …[27]
  2. B) The stillness; /The voices of the cicadas/ Penetrate the rocks

Commentary: Adhering to the criteria provided by the government, A) Good. B) is not worth looking into because it is a literary piece that shows insights to complex perceptions of human mind. It also nurtures in individuals an appreciation of life, and empowers individuals to have creative mindsets with complex sensitivity; furthermore, individuals will gain techniques used in the literary piece to express their insights. All in all these are tantamount to a useless pastime activities, not a real work that is profitable. Thus it is worthless, waste of time, waste of human resource. It actually may harm the development of the nation — Simple Rule Japan.


[1] In Chinese characters, many of which have pictographic origins, it would be written as萬(万)歳 meaning ten thousand years old. However today, it has lost much of its meaning and it has become a mere picture \(^o^)/ meaning yeah!.

[2] Plato, Phaedrus, Benjamin Jowett (trans.) A Public Domain Book, Kindle version. Amazon Services International, Inc., 1079. Cicadas are rendered as grasshoppers in Jowett’s English translation. I owe Jeremy Fernando for pointing out the cicadas-muses connection in the Greek tradition.

[3] Plato, Phaedrus, Benjamin Jowett (trans.) A Public Domain Book, Kindle version. Amazon Services International, Inc., 1080.

[4] Plato, Phaedrus, Benjamin Jowett (trans.) A Public Domain Book, Kindle version. Amazon Services International, Inc., 984.

[5] Plato, Phaedrus, Benjamin Jowett (trans.) A Public Domain Book, Kindle version. Amazon Services International, Inc., 1125.

[6] Eagan points out the “entomological imagery of cicadas,” which in connection with the beliefs that cicadas were “born from the earth,” or that they were capable of resurrection and therefore symbolize immortality, are effectively deployed throughout Phaedrus. Egan also mentions two other beliefs by Ancient Greeks: “A related belief is that by shedding its skin and sprouting wings on its fresh white body it could realize perpetual youth. Another popular belief, again based on observation, was that the cicada subsisted entirely on a diet of dew or on dew and air.” See Rory B. Egan, “Cicadas in Ancient Greece. Ventures in Classical Tettigology,” Cultural Entomology Digest Issue 3 – Insect Articles, November of 1994.

[7]“Tymbal,”Cicadas, Smithonian National Museum of National History

[8] Reginald Horace Blyth , Haiku, Vol.III. Summer-Autumn, Hokuseido: Tokyo, 1982, p.976.

[9] Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without A Country, Ed. Daniel Simon, Random House: New York, 2007, p.24.

[10] Jean de La Fontaine, “The Grasshopper and the Ant.,” A Hundred Fables of La Fontaine, Illustrator: Percy J. Billinghurst, John Lane Co.: London 2nd edtion. Release Date: May 6, 2008 [EBook #25357] Project Gutenberg’s A Hundred Fables of La Fontaine, by Jean de La Fontaine The grasshopper is changed back to a cicada here as LaFontaine’s is titled, “La Cigale [cicada] et la Fourmi.”

[11] “Regain Japan” was the slogan of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in 2012. The “Regain Japan” posters show the LDP leader Abe waist up in a business suit, the salarymen uniform with Japanese flag and if not the red and white reminding people of the country. Abe presented and heightened the sense of the need to regain Japan because Japan’s future is at its crisis. See the poster release article by LDP for an example of the poster, November 12, 2012

[12] Shinzo Abe & Naoki Hyakuta, 『日本よ、世界の真ん中で咲き誇れ(Japan! Bloom in the center of the world), Wac: Tokyo, 2013.

[13] Shinzo Abe, 『新しい国へ – 美しい国へ 完全版』(Toward a New Country: A Complete Version of Toward a Beautiful Japan), Bunshun: Tokyo, 2013, p.254.

[14] From the binding cover of Shinzo Abe’s 『新しい国へ – 美しい国へ 完全版』(Toward a New Country: A Complete Version of Toward a Beautiful Japan), Bunshun: Tokyo, 2013.

[15] Shinzo Abe, 『新しい国へ – 美しい国へ 完全版』(Toward a New Country: A Complete Version of Toward a Beautiful Japan), Bunshun: Tokyo, 2013, p.5.

[16] Shinzo Abe speech on February22, 2013 at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), in Washington DC, USA. The transcript for this speech can be found in the following site.

A translation of the speech to Japanese is collected in a book titled『日本の決意』(The Determination of Japan), Shincho: Tokyo, 2014. This is a collection of Abe’s speeches in the countries where he visited. The raving advertisement for the book on the cover is written by Masahiko Fujiwara, who is the author of Kokka no hinkaku, one of the top sellers in 2006. His assertion is with the samurai spirit, “it is the Japanese, and no one else, who are now capable of saving the world” today. Masahiko Fujiwara, The Dignity of the Nation, Giles Murray (trans.), IBC Publishing: Tokyo, 2007, p.279. For further details and critique, see Andrew Rankin, “A question of dignity or cause for embarrassment,” The Japan Times, July 8, 2007.

[17] Shinzo Abe & Naoki Hyakuta, 『日本よ、世界の真ん中で咲き誇れ(Japan! Bloom in the center of the world), Wac: Tokyo, 2013.

[18] 「目指すは、世界最先端。実体経済を成長させ、日本を取り戻し、大きく転換させる。私はやり抜きます。――安倍晋三」Quoted on a paper band put around Shinzo Abe & Naoki Hyakuta, 『日本よ、世界の真ん中で咲き誇れ[(Japan! Bloom in the center of the world) Wac: Tokyo, 2013] to promote the sales.

[19] Hiroaki Ito, Takahiro Hayashi, Masaki Hashimoto, Katsuro Miyagawa, Saori Nakamura, Youichi Mizuta, Susumu Yazawa, “A Protocol for Preparing Preserved Flowers with Natural Color and Texture,” HortTechnology April 2010 vol. 20 no. 2 445-448.

[20] Kiyoshi Morimoto, “The problem of the abuse of amphetamines in Japan,” 1957/01/01 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

[21] 「勿論禁断現象などはない。」(“Of course, no withdrawal symptoms.”) Viewed in August 2015.

[22] The Regain energy drink first emerged in 1988 when the Japanese economy was soaring. It was aimed at Japanese businessmen, who were “corporate gladiators […] taking on the global markets.” The catchphrase “Can you fight for 24 hours??” was based on the idea these businessmen were battling in the international world for Japan with their superior industrial products. The message was “Drink and go on fighting the severe business battle courageously non-stop (and keep winning).” They had another catchphrase that said “Yellow and black are signs of courage,” which colors packaged Regain drinks. For further details on popularity of these sales and Regain drink concept see  May 21, 2014 “Regain Energy Drink: New Product Announcement — License agreement with Daiichi Sankyo Healthcare — Developed based on Regain, a best-selling product for over 25 years” Suntory Beverage & Food Limited, May 21, 2014.

[23] Tomoko Otake, “Blurring the boundaries: As the future facing Japan’s young people changes fast, so too are traditional gender identities,” The Japan Times, May 10, 2009.

[24] Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning, Ilse Lasch (Trans.), Beacon Press: Boston, 2006, p36.

[25]Shusuke Murai, “Subsidies used as carrot to prod national universities to streamline, ditch humanities,” The Japan Times, June 25, 2015.

[26] Shusuke Murai, “Subsidies used as carrot to prod national universities to streamline, ditch humanities,” The Japan Times, June 25, 2015.

[27] D Young , H Bennet-Clark , “The role of the tymbal in cicada sound production,” The Journal of Experimental Biology, 1995; 198 (Pt 4):1001-20.

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