What was the sound Basho heard?

Of course we cannot say exactly what Basho heard, nor would that be the final say in how to appreciate his poem. Basho wrote and rewrote Oku no hosomichi, and we are in his poetic world.

That being said, it might be useful to make available some possible sounds. There is no agreement among scholars as to which of the many cicadas was singing at that time in that location, or indeed if only one species was prominent. Further, cicada songs vary from solo songs, to chorus, to "screeching" for each type of cicada. For a very complete, bilingual cicada web site go here. Below are .mp3 files of solo and chorus song for the two cicada which have been leading contenders for this temple at that time of year: aburazemi / Graptopsaltria nigrofuscata and niiniizemi / Platypleura kaempferi.


aburazemi, solo
aburazemi, chorus
niiniizemi, solo
niiniizemi, chorus
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