Japanese ‘tear teacher’ is teaching people the benefits of crying

Hidefumi Yoshida has been a “tear teacher” for the past eight years.

  • Yoshida is teaching people the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of rui-katsu (tear seeking).
  • As a “tear teacher”, he is trying to break the cultural stigmas around crying.
  • Using emotional films, literature, letters, and scenery, he has helped over 50,000 people cry.

Due to cultural stigmas around crying, Japanese people find it difficult to shed tears.

Hidefumi Yoshida has been working as a ‘tear teacher’ for the past eight years. Speaking to the BBC, he shared that “Originally, Japanese people had a predisposition to cry easily”. Nowadays, however, there are cultural stigmas around crying and Japanese people find it incredibly challenging to shed tears. Commenting further, Yoshida explained that “Many Japanese people hold back from crying. Since childhood, we are taught not to cry. As a result, we grow up learning to be closed off.” One of the main aims of Yoshida is to break the stigma around crying and show people that shedding tears has numerous benefits.

YouTube | BBC Reel

Rui-katsu has the power to relieve stress and promote happiness.

When people think of crying, they associate it with sadness, grief, and pain. Yoshida is teaching people that rai-katsu (tear-seeking) actually has multiple physical, mental, and emotional benefits. He explains that shedding a single tear has the power to relieve stress and leave you feeling refreshed. It is important to note that not all types of tears can have this impact on you. “Not all the tears work though,” he notes. “The most desirable crying is when you are moved to tears. We know that emotional tears in particular work very well to relieve stress.” For this reason, Yoshida uses emotional films, children’s books, letters, and even scenes of nature to touch people and evoke tears. “It is not enough to tear up. It’s important to shed even a single tear. It is ideal to wail,” he added.

Crying can improve your immune system and result in fewer health issues.

When we bottle up our emotions, we allow stress to build up and stress is one of the most dangerous emotions. Although short bursts of stress can be positive, a build up of stress can harm your physical and mental health. It is well known that feelings of tension can cause anxiety and lead to various diseases or mental illnesses. Yoshida explains that when we shed tears, we relieve this harmful stress. In other words, crying can strengthen one’s immune system as it has both physical and psychological benefits. According to Judith Orloff, MD, tears can “help self-soothe, dull pain, and improve moods.”

When you cry, you learn new things about yourself.

Mika Nakamura participated in Yoshida’s rai-katsu and shared her experience. “I was not sure if I could actually cry,” she said. “I was surprised to have found myself filled with emotions and cry to the point where it hurts. Afterwards, I felt refreshed as if I took a bath.”

When was the last time you cried?

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