Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo

Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo

  • BY Jessica Oreck | IN Arts & Culture
    Premiered May 17, 2011

About the Film

Imagine cramming 128 million people onto an island the size of Montana — that's the density of Japan. Not surprisingly, space is at a premium and ergonomic design is right up there next to godliness.

Yet even in Tokyo, the epicenter of this figurative "can of sardines," people of all ages still make room for a tiny bit of wilderness. It is only fitting that they have become captivated by nature's most efficient creatures in space, design, and function — insects. MORE

Insects are sold live in vending machines and department stores, their plastic replicas included as prizes in the equivalent of a McDonald's Happy Meal, and are the subject of the No. 1 videogame in the country, MushiKing. From the smallest backyard to the top of Mt. Fuji, insects inspire an enthusiasm in Japan seen nowhere else in this world. Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo explores the reasons why Japan developed this extraordinary social relationship with insects.

The film opens in modern-day Tokyo where a single beetle recently sold for $90,000, then slips back to the early 1800s, to the first cricket-selling business and the development of haiku and other forms of insect literature and art. Through history and adventure, Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo travels all the way back in time to stories of the fabled first emperor who named Japan the "Isle of the Dragonflies."

Along the way the film takes side trips to Zen temples and Buddhist shrines, nature preserves and art museums in its quest for the inspirations that moved Japan into this fascination while other cultures hurtled off towards an almost universal and profound fear of insects.

The Filmmaker

Jessica Oreck

Jessica Oreck works as an animal keeper and docent at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. When not at the museum, Jessica spends her time inventing new ways to create a sense of wonder in the world. Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo is Jessica's first feature film. LESS

Film Credits

Co-Produced by
Maiko Endo

Co-Produced by
Akito Kawahara

Sean Price Williams

Produced, Written, and Directed by
Jessica Oreck

InterviewDr. Takeshi Yoro

Narrated By
Haruku Shinozaki

Rin Katsuta
Rina Katsuta
Akito Kawahara
Naohiro Kazaoka
Kazuya Kumazaki
Tomone Kumazaki
Yu Miyasaka
Norikuni Nakamura
Takumi Nakamura
Gakuto Nakamura
Mitsuru Nozawa
Shigeru Okamura
Takeshi Sugimoto
Tetsuo Suwa
Joichiro Watanabe
Yoshi-to Yoshioka

Theo Angell
Jessica Oreck

Additional Editing
Steve Thornton

Maiko Endo
Akito Kawahara
Sahe Kawahara
Naoto Yoshioka

Additional Sound
Maiko Endo
Takashi Hattori

Additional Production Assistance
Anda Itoi
Yukari Iki

Music Composed and Arranged by
JC Morrison

Performed by
Violin - Maiko Endo
Korean Oboe - Andy Haas
Bamboo Flute - Masako Kawai

Sound Design, Mix, and Additional Music
Nate Shaw

Michelle Enemark

Online Editor
Eugene Lehnert

Alex Berman

Post Production Services
Post Logic

Video Game Content
The 昆虫採集 “Bug Collecting” Videogame
昆虫王者ムシキング “MushiKing” Videogame

Music Supervisor
Sean Price Williams

Written by Ryuichi Sakamoto 坂本龍一
Performed by Masami Tsuchiya 土屋昌巳
Originally released by Epic
Courtesy of Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc.
By arrangement with Sony Music Entertainment

“All in a Day’s Work”
Performed and written by Richard Bone (unreleased)

“Man of Night Bar” 夜店の男
Lyrics by Junko Kudo 工藤順子
Composed by Tatsuro Kondo 近藤達郎
Performed by Mishio Ogawa
Originally released by Absord
Courtesy of Hip Land Music Corporation Inc.

“Atti” アッティ
Written and Performed by Haroumi Hosono 細野晴臣
Originally released by Monado
Courtesy of Teichiku Entertainment, INC., Imperial Records

“Bio Philosophy”
Written and Performed by Haruomi Hosono 細野晴臣
Originally released by Monado
Courtesy of Teichiku Entertainment, INC., Imperial Records

Written and Performed by Paul Grimstad (unreleased)

Filmed on location in Japan

Book First
Fabre Museum
Fukagawa Edo Museum
Jumbo Encho
Ohmuraski Center
Saitama Insect Fair
Science Museum
Shiga Konchu
Syunkaen Bonsai Gallery
Tama Zoo
Tokyo Hands
Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology

Special Thanks
Ronald and Mary Bronstein
Michael Chaiken
陳玉華 Gyokuka Chin
Keitaro Eda
Tetsuro and Yoshie Endo
Masami Fukuoka
Robert Greene
Dr. Kunikatsu Hamano
Makoto Hasegawa
Satoko and Yuichi Hirano
和泉田 大樹 Taijyu Izumida
Hiroko Kawahara
木村義志 Yoshiji Kimura
Kunio Kobayashi
Kenji Mito
Sae Miyasaka
Jiro Muraoka
Bruce and Cody Oreck
佐々木佳子 Yoshiko Sasaki
宇賀神 達哉 Tatsuya Ugazi
梅田幸和 Yukikazu Umeda
Mayuko Umeto
Sadatsugu Watanabe
Hiroko Yoshioka

This program was produced by Myriapod Productions, LLC, which is solely responsible for its content.

©2010 Myriapod Productions, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Have you ever had an exotic pet? Tell us about your creepy crawly, slimy, scaly, furry or feathered friends and what you've learned from them.