When you’re having a bad day, you almost always end up crying. It’s not illegal, but if that happens in the office, with your boss just sitting a few chairs away from you, it’s not a pretty scene. But there is a new service in Tokyo, Japan, that is aimed to change that sad moment to a romantic one.
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In 2013, Hiroki Terai started a program called rui-katsu, which translates to “tear-seeking empire.” It is a series of public crying events where people are made to watch sad movies and cry together, which is all for free. Hiroki must be a fan of tears because aside from that, he also released a book with photos of teary-eyed male models.
Recently, the empire started another venture, and it is called Ikemeso Danshi. To prevent an ugly crying scene, girls are allowed to visit an online catalogue and browse through a list of gentlemen who, when chosen, would come visit them at the office and wipe their flowing tears away. And if the cheeks are still dry when the guy comes in, they’ll watch sad and heart-wrenching videos to open the floodgates. The entire catharsis costs 7,900 Japanese yen or $65.
The tear-wiping trend is not the only bizarre service offered in Japan. The country has made public emotional experience a source of income. Aside from the Ikemeso Danshi, services like paying for someone to cuddle you, watch television together, or to clean up your room after you die alone in it are just three of the many unconventional offers the Japanese are enjoying.
There is an interesting reason Japan is doing all this. In the next 45 years, it is expected that their population would drop by one-third. And its reported that 33 percent of the Japanese live alone, and that rate will continue to rise. And while their marriage rates are down, the divorce rates are going up. A 2011 survey also confirmed that 50 percent of the 18- to 34-year-olds are not in a romantic relationship.
All those said, it is a pretty clever and reasonable idea for an on-call comfort source to be always ready for anyone who wants to feel less alone.