In weekly magazines aimed at young salarymen, it's common to find articles giving advice about how to supplement one's income, such as by moonlighting on weekends or engaging in various business ventures.
Each issue of Spa magazine advises its readers with a column titled "Manee Senkin Marutoku Sou Honbu," a play on words for a police special investigation task force but tweaked with characters that refer to ways to look for getting money.
In its issue of March 21-28, Spa's columnist suggests that to earn an extra ¥2 million a year, you might want to consider investing in a cockroach farm.
Of course we're not talking about the tiny brown chabane gokiburi (German cockroach) found in kitchens and restaurants, but Dubia roaches -- also known as the orange-spotted roach, Guyana spotted roach or Argentinian wood roach -- which is a medium-sized species that grows to around 40 to 45 mm in length.
According to YouTuber Mutsuki Abe, "From around 2016, imports of lizards and other scaled reptiles sold as pets nearly tripled, and with it, demand for crickets, cockroaches and other insects to feed them. Many pet shops can't keep up with the demand for feed, and efforts are being made to boost the supply."
Abe, who operates a share house, turned to roach farming as a side line and is willing to share details of his business with Spa readers.
"I began sales from February this year, and sold 4,500 goki the first month, for which I earned ¥45,000," he told the magazine. "At this rate if demand stays steady I expect to sell about ¥600,000 worth.
"I started with 10,000 Dubia roaches that I got from a breeder I know, who let me have them cheap," he added. "That breeder told me he himself earns profits of around ¥2 million a year."
Initial startup costs for a Dubia farm are surprisingly low.
"You can buy 100 from a breeder or pet shop for around ¥1,800," said Abe. "Plastic cages that accommodate about 100 of them are enough. They eat regular chicken feed, which sells for ¥2,000 for a 7-kilogram bag. I raise them in my single unit house out in the countryside, but city people can do it using one extra room in their apartment."
While some cockroaches are known to produce an overpowering odor, Spa's reporter said the smell in the room he visited was not particularly unpleasant.
In addition to outlays for feed, one's electric bill is liable to go up, since roaches propagate most efficiently at around 28 degrees Centigrade. A female Dubia roach produces 200 offspring during her two-year lifespan, which means successive generations of goki will increase about 100-fold in the course of one year.
"They take about six months to reach maturity, but there's demand for smaller bugs too, as feed for smaller types of reptiles," Abe noted. "They are unable to climb the smooth inner walls of the plastic containers that I raise them in, and can't fly very far, so escapes are not a concern."
Typically Abe sells his roaches via Yahoo Auction. "I usually go with a starting price of ¥1,500 for 100 roaches. I provide details like the balance between males and females, and also indicate three roach sizes of small, medium and large. Usually customers go with a set consisting of 30 males and 70 females. I ship them in egg trays inserted in boxes via Kuro Neko parcel delivery, which are labeled 'Pet Food.'"
Of course the gokiburi business carries some risks. Abe notes that some people handling the shipments are so repelled by roaches that they can't stand picking up the shipping box and inserting it into a plastic carrying bag, even if wearing protective gloves.
Anyone who chooses to get into the gokiburi business needs to have a steady hand and a strong stomach, Spa quips.© Japan Today
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Ain't late stage capitalism great?
Many working poor have been keeping their own not-for-profit cockroach farms for many years.
In 2018, Reuters reported the same thing is is being done on an industrial scale in Jinan, China.
In the summer, Japan itself is one big cockroach farm.
The world needs less of them, not more.
Is someone voting for roaches?
The worst thing in the world for me besides mayo is a cockroach, I just can't stand them, but I have to say, been living in my new home for 5 years now and have not seen one cockroach, but I also made it more difficult for them to enter, so I don't worry about them too much.
Have you seen any mayo?
I dont care what you do with ROACHES but they better never and ever be a replacment for protien and meats in our food supply!!!
They are already using crickets that been crush to powder to add in our food as protein already
A cricket looks like a roach and it just give me the bucket before I vomit that the paranoia.
Roaches and mayo on toast.
Just the absolute worst!
to earn 2M, it means 200,000 cockroaches! OMG no way
Other than both being insects, a cricket looks nothing like a roach. It looks more like a grasshopper or locust.
I was happy with the fact that most of Japan does not have to deal with roach infestations.
After two years together, it is a sad thing to see them pass away. It is a nice pet to have, don't make any noise, stay away in some corner most of the time, and somehow manage to feed themselves...