Even though numerous animal species shed tears, emotional crying is a uniquely human activity. Regardless of the reason behind it, many people believe that expressing one’s emotions in this way can be both cathartic and healthy.
In Japan, entrepreneur Hiroki Terai has even adopted this belief as a business strategy. He is the founder of a group crying service that encourages people to cry together while a “handsome weeping boy” wipes their tears away. Known as rui-katsu or "tear-seeking," the practice is especially popular with women and is said to relieve stress levels.
For those in Western societies, this crying practice might seem unorthodox perhaps even downright strange. But for many cultures worldwide, showing sadness or anger is considered taboo, and the rites of passage into manhood dictate that emotions must be suppressed, even obliterated.
In fact, the Japanese are among the least likely to cry of 37 nationalities polled by the International Study on Adult Crying; Americans are the most likely. When asked what gave him the idea to provide such a service, Terai says that he first discovered the need for a unique way of counseling Japanese couples to get over their recent divorces through inducing tears.