The Japanese language is rich in words and expressions influenced by nature, history and culture. In this episode, poet and literary translator Peter MacMillan travels to Matsue City, Shimane Prefecture, where the writer and journalist Lafcadio Hearn (1850-1904) lived. Hearn is known for Kwaidan, a collection of ghost stories, and other works that explore the essence of Japan. He also loved insects and resonated deeply with Japanese insect culture. From the Lafcadio Hearn Memorial Museum in Matsue, we introduce some expressions related to insects, or mushi.
Lafcadio Hearn is known for his compilation of Japanese ghost stories, but he also admired Japanese insect culture
Tonbogaeri: an immediate return, like when a dragonfly changes course
Semishigure: the cries of cicadas, which become louder, then quieter, much like falling rain
Issun no mushi ni mo gobu no tamashi: even a small insect is made half of soul and has its own thoughts and ideas