The gokiburi, or cockroach people, are a young fae believed to have come into existence in the last century. The word “gokiburi” is Japanese for “cockroach”. Although it’s accepted as the fae’s name in the international community, some Japanese obviously find it confusing, leading to some alternate names such as “gokikaburi” (based on the etymology of “gokiburi”), “gokiburigami” (cockroach gods), or “gokiburihito” (cockroach people).
From behind, the gokiburi looks almost exactly like an oversized cockroach, though usually standing upright on its back legs. Though it has the carapace of a cockroach, its body is shaped like a four-armed human. The gokiburi’s hair smoothly melds into the hard shell of the upper wings, and two antennae spring from the eyebrows. A gokiburi is even smaller than most pixies, at around 6 cm tall (2.4 in).
Gokiburis typically wear ragged clothing, such as a simple smock or a loincloth. Females wearing a loincloth may also tie a strip around their chest, but this is not universal. Their clothes are made from scraps of human clothing, often scrounged from garbage heaps.
Though little is known about their life cycle, it is assumed that they reproduce the same way as humans do. Researchers at the Seimei Academy in Kyoto have estimated their life expectancy at between ten and twenty-five years. They reach full maturity in approximately nine months.
Gokiburis will eat anything. However, many seem to consider the poisons put down to kill cockroaches as a special delicacy, and they also seem to prefer meat over vegetables, while having a marked distaste for fish.
Gokiburis do not suffer any ill effects from radiation and are immune to most poisons that affect humans or insects, especially pesticides.
They also highly resistant to extremes of temperature. In cold temperatures, their blood and sweat takes are laced with glycerol, preventing them from entirely freezing, though if caught outdoors in the winter they will not be able to function – they must enter a state of hibernation until it warms up again.
A gokiburi does not die if decapitated and can pick their head up and reattach it if given the chance, and they cannot be crushed as long as they have the protection of their carapace – being stepped on doesn’t hurt them at all, and even being struck by a hammer would barely do any damage.
A gokiburi can walk (or climb) up walls pretty easily as long as they’re not too smooth, due to a slight stickiness in their sweat coupled with their low weight. They can also fly using their cockroach wings, though this is a rare sight indeed.
Society and Culture
Gokiburis often live alone, taking up residence in a messy house and feasting on scraps. Sometimes, they will also live in small family groups, and on occasion they even form larger multi-family communities in a given house. This is rare not because they dislike the company of their own kind but because the hostility of humans tends to drive them out of their homes frequently – they rarely stay in the same house for more than a year or two before being driven out.
As one of the younger fae species, the gokiburi does not yet have any notable historical appearances. There are, in fact, no recorded sightings earlier than the twentieth century, though it can be difficult to disentangle gokiburi sightings from real cockroaches.