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Japanese paying ₹4500 to learn ‘Hollywood style smiling technique’

After lifting of official advice to wear masks, individuals acknowledged difficulties in transition and feeling awkward without face coverings.

Following the lifting of official mask-wearing advice, a rising number of Japanese individuals, who spent three years concealing their faces during the Covid-19 pandemic, are turning to smile tutors for assistance. These tutors help them readjust to life without masks and regain confidence in displaying ‘genuine smiles’.

Focusing on the effects of prolonged mask usage, Keiko Kawano, a coach at the smile education company Egaoiku, emphasized how it impacted people’s natural ability to smile.

“With mask-wearing having become the norm, people have had fewer opportunities to smile, and more and more people have developed a complex about it, Moving and relaxing the facial muscles is the key to making a good smile. I want people to spend time consciously smiling for their physical and mental well-being.”, said Keiko Kawano, a coach with the smile education company Egaoiku

Himawari Yoshida, 20, one of the students taking the class as part of her school’s courses to prepare them for the job market, says she needed to work on her smile. “I hadn’t used my facial muscles much during COVID so it’s good exercise,” she said.

Kawano’s company Egaoiku – literally “Smile Education” – has seen a more than four-fold jump in demand from last year, with customers ranging from companies seeking more approachable salespeople and local governments looking to improve their residents’ well-being. An hour-long one-on-one lesson costs 7,700 yen ($55).

In an online survey by Laibo, it is found that 27.8% of employees aged 20 to 50 stated they would continue wearing masks unconditionally, while just over two-thirds said they would decide whether to wear masks based on the situation. Only 5.5% expressed their willingness to go mask-free at all times.

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