After the pandemic, the Japanese want to learn to smile again as years behind the mask have made them inept at it.
The Covid-19 pandemic changed the way people function in this day and age. Fortunately, the virus is no longer as much of a danger as it was three years ago. However, the pandemic has left us with changes in the mainstream lifestyle that will be hard to alter. An example of such a shift can be observed in the use of masks.
Now, that the threat has subsided, this practice is becoming a bit difficult to normalize by the pre-pandemic levels. The practice of wearing masks has had a tremendous effect on conventional actions like smiling, reports Sky News.
Most countries have now made mask-wearing voluntary, but most civilians are still preferring to wear masks because they have adapted themselves to it. NHK World Japan in its poll has found out that more than half the population of Japan still prefers to wear masks.
The usage has been encouraged by the personalization of the masks by gender and age in the market. Just because they have been normalized does not mean that their influence has been just positive. It has impacted facial movements like smiling. Moreover, smiling is important in job markets and in countries like Japan where tourism has accelerated after the pandemic.
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It is crucial that individuals involved in tourism such as in Restaurants and hotels welcome the guests smiling into their establishments. This is a basic principle that cannot be avoided. Similarly, schools in Japan are actively addressing the challenges students have faced during the pandemic. One such challenge is the difficulty in expressing genuine smiles. This is why smile coaching services offered by Keiko Kawano have rapidly gained popularity in a remarkably short span of time.
Kawano shares that the reason her services have become popular is that people in the masks did not need to smile a lot and also did not bother to raise their cheeks, per The New York Times. The name of the company run by Kawano is "Egaoiku." She charges 7,700 Japanese yen, or $55, per Reuters for a session of 60 minutes. The rate reflects the demand the service has at present. Talking about the popularity of her services Kawano said, "I think there's a growing need for people to smile".
In one of her prescribed exercises, Kawano asks her students to hold a mirror to their faces and then stretch the sides of their mouths with the help of their fingers. In Kawano's opinion, the problem of smiling is more prevalent in Japan because the tendency to smile is already low amongst the Japanese because of the sense of security present as an Island country.
Moreover, Japanese society also prioritizes humility which causes them to not smile much on public occasions. This has resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of people seeking smile coaching services so that they can re-learn smiling. This is also being done with the hopes to be more appealing to tourists and to garner the best job offers with their impression.