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"Ikemeso": Please, make me cry.

Actualizado: 27 mar

It may be a cliché, but for Westerners, Japanese culture remains a cultural Galapagos, a place where the most shocking trends have an ecosystem that keeps them alive.

It is well documented the fact that the Japanese do not usually show their emotions too much in public, and perhaps for this reason a service like "Ikemeso" is necessary, where an attractive man ("ikemen") visits the office of a woman who pays him for drying her tears and saying comforting words.

The service includes a series of male prototypes that they can choose from, for example a more mature and intellectual man or a "bad boy" with attitude.

Advocates of this service claim that crying has a relaxing effect that generates a certain well-being and eliminates accumulated stress (something that is a problem among certain sectors of Japanese society).

The sessions can be private, but curiously, groups are also popular. Women gather in the same room and after an encouragement to cry, the "ikemen" approaches them and delicately wipes their cheeks. It is important for the man to be attractive because actions like crying are easier in the presence of someone to whom we feel attracted.

The service is not popular among the male population since in Japan there is a certain taboo in showing a man crying in public, but all societies evolve and Japan is no exception. Japanese youth are more open and perhaps in the future there will be a demand for these services for men as well.

There is another factor that explains why it is a popular service among its customers, mainly women who have positions of responsibility (and stress) in an environment that is generally quite masculine. In order to reach these positions, many women have given up starting a family or even having a relationship with a partner. The "ikemen" fulfills a substitute function generally reserved for boyfriends or husbands.

Japan is a country where ceremonies are very important and in this case a ceremony is established to cry, something that would otherwise be repressed and in turn generate more stress. In fact, in a study carried out among 37 countries, the Japanese were the ones with the least tendency to cry. On the contrary, the Americans were the most prone to do so.

At a biological level, tears are not something exclusive to human beings since other species of animals also produce them. However, what is unique to our species is the way we do it. The environment can greatly influence the way we cry and the reason why we do it. What seems clearer is that the calming effects of crying are beneficial in many ways.

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