After their government dropped the necessary mask mandates in March, some Japanese are paying $55 for an hour-long smile instruction.
The development came after three years of official advice that individuals wear masks.
People in the country were urged to wear masks after the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 to protect themselves from the respiratory sickness.
However, since the mask rules were lifted recently, many people have difficulty to grin and have felt the need to practice their facial expressions.
According to Reuters, Keiko Kawano, a smiling instructor, created Egaoiku – which translates as “Smile Education” – in 2017.
Her services, however, were more than four times in demand once the country’s government dropped its recommendation that people wear masks.
Young individuals, companies searching for more personable salesmen, and local governments aiming to promote the well-being of their population are among Kawano’s clientele.
Prior to the COVID-19 epidemic, many Japanese people wore masks to protect themselves from a cold or hay fever throughout the winter and spring seasons.
A poll conducted in May found that only 8% of the population had stopped using masks entirely.
Himawari Yoshida, one of the students enrolled in the job-preparation class, said that she needed to work on her grin.
“I hadn’t used my facial muscles much during COVID so it’s good exercise,” the 20-year-old said.
Kawano explained that she offers the one-hour smile training because young people have grown accustomed to living with masks.
Former radio broadcaster Kawano trademarked the ‘Hollywood Style Smiling Technique’ and has educated 23 other people to be smiling trainers.
Her coaching techniques are “crescent eyes, round cheeks and shaping the edges of the mouth to bare eight pearly whites in the upper row.”
“Culturally, a smile signifies that I’m not holding a gun and I’m not a threat to you,” she said.
“With a surge in inbound tourists, Japanese people need to communicate with foreigners with more than just their eyes. I think there’s a growing need for people to smile.”