Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo

Published March 11, 2010 by Graham


Stop, breathe, and take a moment to appreciate how rad bugs are. Let’s send waves of positive thought about insects into the Universe. Here in the English-speaking world, where they are semiotically bound to concepts of destruction and annoyance, bugs could use some respect and affection. Not so much in Japan, as we learn in Jessica Oreck’s dazzling documentary Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo.

…While people of many other countries fear all manner of creepy crawlies, the Japanese love and respect them: they’re sold live in vending machines and department stores; they’re the subject of the No. 1 videogame MushiKing; and a single beetle recently sold for $90,000. Insects have been an integral part of the centuries-old traditions of the country, once described as the “Isle of the Dragonflies.”

The film’s gorgeous imagery links people with the strength of beetles, the music of crickets, the magic of fireflies and the endless colors of butterflies. Using bugs like an anthropologist’s toolkit, the film uncovers Japanese philosophies that will shift Westerners’ perspectives on nature, beauty, life, and even the seemingly mundane realities of their day-to-day routines.

Take the rare opportunity to reflect on the elegance of the microscopic and watch this film. It’s playing tonight at Cinefamily in L.A., for one night only. The screening will also feature a Q&A with Oreck.

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2 comments so far

  1. Kat says:

    Wow I had no idea the Japanese felt this way about insects! Check out for some amazing images of very small wild things by a biologist and photographer working in Illinois.

    ~Kat Xx

  2. Rachael Teel says:

    In an effort to makes its way to a theater near you, Beetle Queen is campaigning on

    Check it out!