Forest cockroach nymphs. These are very common in the leaf litter.
Insecta: Dictyoptera: Blattodea
Blattella nipponica = mori chabane gokiburi
I’ve found several of these burrowing cockroaches in the past couple of weeks. They live in the forest and seem to especially like woodpiles. My daughter, Aya, and I both enjoyed holding and playing with the big black roaches, much to Shinobu’s horror! It’s easy (for us) to see why some people keep them as pets. Aya was quite sad when we had to release the one she was holding. You can watch a video of her playing with the roach (but the video file is 6MB I’m afraid).
Insecta: Pterygota: Blattodea
Burrowing cockroach: oogokiburi: Panesthia angustipennis spadica
VIDEO (6MB): Aya playing with burrowing cockroach
Smokey brown cockroaches (kurogokiburi) are said to prefer living outdoors, but we sometimes get them in our house. They are scavengers and will eat almost anything but normally feed on plant material. Fast moving and quite large (3cm) with spiky legs, they terrify many people, who claim that they are incredibly dirty and dangerous. Of course they may carry some germs, but these creatures are no dirtier than many other things around us, such as the pet dog that you allow to lick your hand (or face!) after he’s licked his backside! The fear of cockroaches is really quite irrational, since they cannot hurt us by stinging or biting, and we can always wash our hands after picking one up.
By the way, there are around 50 species of cockroach in Japan (but only 6 species are very common).
Good website on cockroaches: http://www.bio.umass.edu/biology/kunkel/cockroach.html
Insecta: Pterygota: Blattodea: Periplaneta fuliginosa (kurogokiburi)