The title of the film 害虫 (2001) was literally translated into English as "Harmful Insect".

It is clear to me that the original title is a figure of speech. Is it a established metaphor (and how would you translate it?), or did the creators of the film just use that word creatively?


1 Answer 1


It's not an established idiomatic expression. It does not have any surprising connotation unique to the Japanese language, such as 大根 ("radish" → unskilled actor / ham actor) and 鳥頭 ("birdhead" → a person who forgets things soon).

It's not really a "creative" metaphor unique to this film, either. I believe harmful/useless people have been referred to as 害虫(のような人間) hundreds of times in works by various novelists and lyricists. For what it's worth, I checked the first 200 hits of 害虫 on BCCWJ, and two of them were figurative. And here are the results of 害虫 on Uta-Net, a lyrics search engine.

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