In Japan, it is now possible to hire attractive young men to come to your workplace and comfort you while you weep. For a mere 7,900 yen, or $65, a dashing gentleman will come right to your cubicle, wipe away your tears, and even watch sad videos with you if you need some help getting the waterworks going.
The Tokyo-based company Ikemeso Danshi, which translates roughly to, “Handsome Weeping Boys” was created by Hiroki Terai, a businessman with a knack for finding lucrative gaps in the Japanese market, pertaining mostly to the emotional health of a largely overworked, socially reclusive society. An avid believer in the healing effects of rui-katsu, or “tear seeking,” Terai’s previous business ventures include a service offering ceremonies to mark the end of a marriage, during which clients indulge in a good cry and end up feeling, well, healed! Terai also produced a series of free, sad movie clip screenings in 2013, the goal of which was to encourage strangers to cry together in public. Last year, he published a book, also called Ikemeso Danshi, featuring photographs of male models crying.
The company's website offers a peek at the different "types" of tear-wiping services they offer-- ranging from rugged dudes to more boyish, fresh-faced lads.
Ikemeso Danshi is a company that operates under the conviction that communal emotional vulnerability could ease the angst and loneliness of a society that is becoming more socially isolated. According to government statistics, about one-third of Japanese households contain only one person, and by 2035, it is projected that people living alone will comprise almost 40% of Japanese households. Since the 1970s, the country's divorce rate has been steadily increasing as the marriage rate has plummeted. For a culture that prides itself on an iron work ethic and total self-sufficiency, maybe a good cry really can make a difference.