Cockroaches inhabited the Jomon houses
Household pests in the Jomon period, of which the cockroach is the most well known, were insects that infiltrated houses from the nearby forests and grassy fields when the Jomon people constructed their dwellings using materials taken from these areas. These insects lived with humans and adopted the human dietary habits and mode of life. The most representative of these household pests is the universally disliked cockroach.
Currently, there are over 50 types of cockroaches inhabiting Japan, of which there are approximately 10 types of ‘household cockroaches’ that infiltrate and live in human houses. Most of these cockroaches are non-native species. Only the ‘Japanese cockroach’ (Periplaneta japonica), found mainly in Eastern Japan, is native.
Impressions of cockroach eggs on the surface of Jomon pottery have been found at five archaeological sites. Detailed investigations of these cockroach eggs indicate that the egg impressions found at a Jomon site in southern Kyushu are of the smokybrown cockroach (Periplaneta fuliginosa), while an impression found in Yamanashi prefecture is of the Japanese cockroach (Periplaneta japonica). According to previous research in the field of entomology, the smokybrown cockroach was thought to be a non-native species that came to Japan from southern China during the Edo period (1603-1868). However, our research has shown that the smokybrown cockroach is native to Japan and that the current distribution—in which the smokybrown cockroach is located in western Japan and the Japanese cockroach is located in eastern Japan—was established from the Early to the Middle Jomon period (5,000 years ago).
SEM images of replicas of the egg capsules impressions of cockroach from the Jomon sites in Japan (Motonobaru site in Miyazaki City., Kamitashiro site in Ebino City, Komaki site in Kanoya , Sekiguchi site in Hokuto City)
SEM image of replica of the egg capsule impression of cockroach from Motonobaru site in Miyazaki City (4,000 BP)
SEM image of replica of the egg capsule impression of cockroach from Kamitashiro site in Ebino City (4,800 BP)
SEM image of replica of the egg capsule impression of cockroach from Komaki site in Kanoya City (4,300 BP)
SEM image of replica of the egg capsule impression of cockroach from Sekiguchi site in Hokuto City (5,300 BP)
Pottery with an egg capsule impression from Motonobaru site in Miyazaki City (4,000 BP)
Image of cockroach egg capsule of Periplaneta fuliginosa
Image of cockroach egg capsule of Periplaneta japonica
SEM image of egg capsule of Periplaneta fuliginosa