Women in Japan Are Paying Handsome Men to Watch Them Cry

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If there’s one activity that’s important to master in 2018, it’s crying. Between endless accusations of sexual assault being made public, errant fake missile warnings being sent out willy-nilly, and Donald Trump alienating half the world with wildly racist comments, there’s a lot we need to let go.

And crying is one of the best ways to relax, relieve stress, and rejuvenate. Take it from a big crier.

Japan has recently commodified crying. It may sound ridiculous, but women in Japan have started paying to cry in the presence of a handsome man. It’s a new service, and I’m about to tell you all about it.

It can be cathartic in ways that practically no other experience can be. One of the ways in which human beings are unique is that crying is an emotional experience for us. It has the power to relieve.

There is a service that facilitates crying sessions for women in Japan. It is the brainchild of entrepreneur and author Hiroki Terai. The crying service encourages people to cry together while a handsome man wipes your tears away. Yes, really.

Australian-born filmmaker Darryl Thoms shot a short documentary about Terai’s crying service called Crying with the Handsom Man. The short film was selected for National Geographic’s Short Film Showcase, and it’s viewable on their website.

Needless to say, they all cried. What can I say? The service delivers. According to National Geographic, rui-katsu, or “tear-seeking,” is a popular practice with women in Japan.

It shouldn’t be taboo or unsettling to cry. Part of Terai’s mission is to make crying a comfortable experience. Of course, one of the biggest components of this is the host of the crying sessions, who helps the women open up…the Handsome Man…

He is a singer and samisen player in addition to being an expert in crying. He has studied the “healing effects of tears.” According to Terai in the film, “one drop of tear has the effect of relieving stress for a week.” So let’s all get crying, people!

According to National Geographic, “the Japanese are among the least likely to cry of 37 nationalities polled by the International Study on Adult Crying; Americans are the most likely.” Terai first got the idea for formalized crying therapy sessions when he needed to find a way to coach couples through their recent divorces. Because ceremony is such an important part of Japanese culture, Thoms said, making a ceremony out of crying “helps program the mind and make it receptive to change.” That makes sense, and honestly, hey, whatever works, you know?

Thoms explained Terai’s thinking: “Certain experiences are more emotionally heightened when there is someone in your midst that you find attractive. The dilation of pupils, faster beating of the heart and other signs only help with the elation from the crying experience.”

“The joy felt by the women after experiencing the crying session was palpable,” he said, “they were all smiling and enthusiastic afterward, and seemed relaxed — even quite chatty.”

Thoms revealed that Terai also partakes in weekend sessions of therapeutic crying. It’s nothing to be ashamed of — quite the opposite, in fact. Here’s hoping that one day we won’t have to reserve crying for paid-for therapeutic sessions. However, scheduled cries are always good. Non-scheduled cries are great too. Basically, crying is the best and you should do it as much as possible.