Japanese Companies Are Making Their Employees Cry and Then Hiring ‘Handsome Weeping Boys’ to Wipe Away Their Tears

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Photo: PhotoAlto/Odilon Dimier/Getty Images

Crying at work is typically frowned upon, but some Japanese companies are not only setting aside time for their employees to meet and cry together, they’re hiring ikemeso danshi, or “handsome weeping boys,” to wipe away their tears. (And you thought your office’s beer keg was a good perk.)

The BBC reports that businessman Hiroki Terai started offering these crying workshops in order to get his fellow countrymen more comfortable with expressing their emotions.

They sound fairly straightforward and, if you’re also a connoisseur of openly weeping like I am, actually pretty fun. Employees gather in a room and are shown several movie clips — say, of tragic parent-child relationships or beloved dogs dying — until they break down sobbing. Then, “the man showing the films begins to walk around and, with a large cotton handkerchief, softly wipes the tears from people’s faces. He diligently refolds the handkerchief for each person to offer them a dry patch.” Doesn’t that sound nice and soothing?

The particular weeping boy facilitating the BBC reporter’s session was named Ryusei and, because he’s pushing 40, is known as “good-looking-but-slightly-older weeping boy.” Most of his ilk are in their 20s, but there’s really only one requirement for the job: They have to be hot. “I think it’s because it’s so different to daily life. It’s exciting,” Terai explained.

Terai also believes that this group-crying will help colleagues work together better, which beats trust falls and icebreakers any day of the week.