Documentary explores insects in Japanese culture

Trailer courtesy of Myriapod Productions on Vimeo.
PULLMAN – WSU entomology professors will show a documentary chronicling Japan’s love affair with bugs while sharing live beetles, tarantulas and scorpions with the audience.
Entomology professors Richard Zack and Laura Lavine will present the documentary “Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo” along with their creepy-crawly friends at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 3, in the CUB auditorium. The event is free to the public.
Working backward through history, “Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo” explores the mystery of how bugs have become an ingrained part of Japanese culture. Using insects 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, Lavine said in an e-mail.
Zack teaches Entomology 101, a class that explores how insects and people interact and how insects have become part of U.S. culture, and he said bugs play a much larger role in Japanese culture. He said that in Japan, insects are often collected and kept as pets and that the Japanese express their culture through their love of beetles and butterflies.
In Lavine’s Entomology 343 class, students learn how insects change the way we live, from maintaining other insect populations to costing farmers millions of dollars in pesticides, Zack said.
“For the most part, people from the U.S. don’t like insects,” he said. “But insects aren’t as bad as we think… This documentary is an opportunity for students and faculty to explore areas of study that they don’t necessarily have an interest in and expand their multicultural experience.”
The event is sponsored by WSU Entomology and the ASWSU SEB.