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Cry Your Eyes Out with Rui-katsu 

Why do we cry? Crying simply put, is the brimming or falling of tears from the eyes as a reaction to an emotional state or feeling pain. Emotions that lead to crying can include happiness, anger and sadness. Animal species shed tears, but emotional crying is unique to humans. Crying is thought to be scary because it makes us feel that we are losing control of our emotions and has a tendency to make other people feel uncomfortable. Some people believe crying is healthy and cathartic.

Crying is defined as “a complex secretomotor phenomenon characterized by the shedding of tears from the lacrimal apparatus, without any irritation of the ocular structures.” Crying is perceived to be an emotional vulnerability, even a sign of weakness. But as of late, crying is becoming more and more accepted in some societies that fully embrace emotional expression and the power of therapy.

Man cryingIn Japan, there is a known practice called “rui-katsu” or “tear activity/ tear-seeking” where people pay to attend seminars and practice the act of crying with the purpose of being refreshed and relieving stress. In a short video produced by BBC, the “The man teaching Japan to cry”, the “tear teacher”, Hidefumi Yoshida enlightens us on the power of crying. Yoshida says he has brought thousands of people to crying and he believes that the simple act has incredible lifestyle and health benefits. He also strongly encourages not just a quiet tearing up, but to wail!

Yoshida also emphasizes that the type of tears is important. The most therapeutic are the ones motivated by emotional experiences such as watching a movie or hearing a story. The kind of tears produced by these emotions are very different from the tears of grief over a loved one. Grief causes a lasting sorrow as opposed to being moved by a song or a poem that elicits a temporary emotional moment. He also states, “With all the emotions we feel, crying reveals who you really are. I want people to look at who they are.”

The short film “Crying with the Handsome Man,” Australian filmmaker Darry Thoms with permission from Hiroki Terai, an accomplished businessman and author of 11 published books including one called Ikemeso Danshi, featuring men crying, to film one of his sessions. Terai, another advocate for crying and his belief in why it brings people together. The company “sends handsome men to dry the tears of crying Japanese women, Ikemeso Takkyubin, literally the Tear Couriers.”

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Read all about Japanese immersion learning and studying abroad. Check out our eZasshi archives for more articles!