In July, the hot summer arrives in Japan.
Today, let us introduce one of Japan's summer traditions: fireflies.
Do fireflies inhabit your country?
It is said that there are over 2,000 species of fireflies worldwide, and Japan is home to approximately 50 species.
Most Japanese fireflies, like the ones in the picture, emit light from their abdomens, but some species do not emit light.
"Genji-botaru" (Nipponoluciola cruciata) is a native species of firefly in Japan.
Insects in Japanese Culture
In Japan, certain insects, including fireflies, have been beloved by people since ancient times.
Why is that?
Japan experiences distinct changes in seasons. That's why different insects appear each season.
For example, in spring, you'll see white butterflies (Cabbage Whites) fluttering around. In summer, cicadas sing their songs while fireflies light up the nights, and you can spot Japanese rhinoceros beetles climbing trees in the forests.
Autumn brings many dragonflies, and at night, you'll hear the chirping of crickets and bell crickets.
When a type of aphid called "yukimushi" (snow insect) starts dancing in the sky, it signals the arrival of snow and winter.
By encountering these specific insects, we as Japanese people can feel the changing of seasons and simultaneously enjoy both the insects and the seasons together.
There are various ways to enjoy them. You can delight in watching fireflies fluttering and emitting light, or you can take pleasure in listening to the chirping of crickets and bell crickets.
By the way, did you know that only Polynesians and Japanese people are able to recognize and distinguish the sounds and calls produced by insects and animals as "voices," rather than just noise or ordinary sounds?
While many people around the world perceive these sounds using the right hemisphere of their brains, known as the "music brain," we apologize for not having researched Polynesian people specifically, but it is said that individuals who are native speakers of the Japanese language have the characteristic of perceiving not only the voices of insects and animals but also the sounds of wind, waves, babbling streams, rain, and more using the left hemisphere of their brains, known as the "language brain."
Can you hear the "voices" of insects?
Japanese people, during their early childhood, when they begin to learn language, refer to things like dogs as "wan-wan," cows as "mow-mow," and wind as "byu-byu," using onomatopoeic words.
Japanese children are taught by their parents and adults to recognize living beings and natural phenomena through the use of onomatopoeic words and sound effects, rather than general terms. In this way, Japanese people naturally acquire the habit of paying attention to the sounds of animals and nature from a young age as part of their daily lives.
Furthermore, by enjoying the presence of insects through their sight and sound, emotions naturally arise. For example, people find the sight of fireflies emitting light and flitting about in the darkness to be beautiful. The fleeting nature of their light leads to comparisons with human life and feelings of love.
In Japan, the light of fireflies is perceived with a sense of ephemeral beauty and a touch of melancholy. However, in neighboring China, there is a romanticized image and a sense of hope that even a small light can break through the darkness and bring illumination.
References to fireflies can be found in ancient texts such as the historical book "Nihon Shoki" written in 720 and the oldest anthology of Japanese poetry, the "Manyoshu." (7th-8th century)
Source：Kyoto University Digital Archive of Rare Materials "The Pillow Book" (枕草子)
The photo is from the opening passage of the essay "Makura no Sōshi: The Pillow Book," which is said to be the first written work in Japan. It was written during the Heian period between 1001 and 1002.
The author, Sei Shōnagon, describes the beauty of each season. In the section dedicated to summer, she writes about fireflies as follows:
Summer nights are delightful. Of course, during the full moon too. Even in the darkness of the night. It is enjoyable to see the fireflies flying. Whether they are fluttering about chaotically or gently emitting a faint light as they fly, both are wonderful. Rain falling on a summer night is also lovely.
Source：Japan Knowledge https://japanknowledge.com/articles/blogutsukushikimono/001.html
Unfortunately, we cannot deliver Japanese fireflies from j-Grab Mall. However, how about adding color to your summer nights with a lampshade that projects the enchanting silhouettes of traditional Japanese motifs and patterns?
A Lantern Emitting A Fragrant Light – AKARI Kaoru Andon Paper Covered Lantern Lampshades
Experience the essence of Japanese tradition and bring the warmth of Japanese light into your own room.
The panels on the lampshade are designed using traditional Japanese patterns found in Ise katagami stencils, which are one of the pattern templates used for dyeing fabrics like kimonos. These stencils are part of a traditional craft and showcase the intricate and detailed designs reminiscent of delicate paper cutouts.
Even when the light is turned off, the combination of the panel design and the wooden frame of the lamp creates a beautiful visual aesthetic. When the light is turned on, the panel design casts shadow patterns, creating a captivating and fantastical ambiance that expands throughout the space.
This product is compatible with two power sources.
It can be used with three AA batteries.
If you prefer to use it with a household power source, a dedicated AC adapter is available that supports DC 5V, 1A.
Please note that this product comes with a Type A plug, which is suitable for use in Japan. If you intend to use it with a household power source in your country, please attach a suitable plug adapter.
A Lamp That Faithfully Transforms The Delicate Beauty of Intricate Patterns Into Metal – AKARI KIRAMEKI Traditional Lampshades
We have chosen colors that resemble natural light, creating a comfortable and inviting ambiance.
This lampshade combines the historical patterns and motifs of traditional craft Ise katagami with stainless steel, fusing tradition with the latest electronic technology to create a fantastical and soothing ambiance.
The metallic shade adds a stylish impression to your room, and when the light is turned on, the beautiful shadow of the traditional Japanese pattern carved into the shade spreads throughout the space.
AKARI KIRAMEKI Traditional Lampshades were showcased through a live-streaming sales event at AEON MALL PLUS, located in AEON MALL Mean Chey in the Kingdom of Cambodia, as part of j-Grab Mall's ongoing showroom store exhibition.
You can also watch the full video on the official Facebook page of AEON MALL PLUS.
■ AEON MALL PLUS Live Streaming (May 20th broadcast) on Facebook.
This product is only compatible with household power supplies.
The dedicated AC adapter requires DC 5V, 1A.
The plug for this product is designed for Japan (Type A), so you may need to attach a plug converter for your country when using it.
How was it?
This time, we introduced carefully selected lampshades from j-Grab Mall, inspired by the connection between fireflies, other insects, and Japanese culture, as well as the light of fireflies.
Please enjoy a wonderful summer night with the lampshades from j-Grab Mall, where you can feel the essence of Japan. ☆
We must admit, both of the products we have introduced here are a bit expensive.
■j-Grab Mall Promo Codes