Japanese Students Pay $50 Per Hour Learning How To Smile

Japanese Students Pay $50 Per Hour Learning How To Smile


As the mask requirements in Japan were eased by the government in March, more and more individuals are striving to readjust to public life by exposing their faces. Consequently, a surge in demand for smile coaching services has emerged. This article delves into the growing trend of Japanese students enrolling in smile lessons offered by professional instructors to regain their confidence in showcasing their smiles.

The COVID-19 pandemic, spanning over three years, has affected the facial muscles of many individuals who had become accustomed to concealing their smiles. Art student Himawari Yoshida, 20, shared her experience, stating, “I hadn’t used my facial muscles much during COVID, so it’s good exercise.” This gap in people’s ability to smile freely has prompted the emergence of smile instructors like Keiko Kawano, whose primary mission is to bridge this disparity and help the Japanese population rediscover their smiles.

Keiko Kawano, the founder of “Egaoiku” or “Smile Company,” is a former radio host who recognized the need for smile coaching services. Initially teaching smiling techniques at a gym, Kawano expanded her reach to coach employees of corporate clients, including IBM Japan. Today, she hosts smile lessons, attended by students like Yoshida, as part of their school’s initiative to prepare them for the professional world. These smile lessons play a vital role in imparting the art of smiling naturally and confidently.

A private hour-long session with Kawano costs 7,700 Japanese yen ($55). In these sessions, she begins by assessing the student’s current smile and then introduces the concept of the “Hollywood smile,” demonstrating its shape and instructing students to mimic it. Recognizing that facial muscles may not respond as expected, Kawano incorporates exercises that target the muscles of the cheeks, helping students achieve a beautiful mouth shape. Her comprehensive approach aims to cultivate genuine and captivating smiles.

For individuals aspiring to become smile coaches like Kawano, she offers one-day training workshops priced at 80,000 Japanese yen. Despite the challenges faced by her business during the COVID-19 pandemic, Kawano maintained a steady stream of clients. However, her business experienced a significant boost following the relaxation of mandatory mask mandates.

With the relaxation of mask requirements, Japan is witnessing a surge in demand for smile coaching services. Students, like Yoshida, are actively participating in smile lessons provided by professional instructors such as Keiko Kawano. By retraining facial muscles and instilling confidence, these lessons prepare individuals to embrace the post-pandemic world with radiant and authentic smiles. As smile coaching gains momentum, it serves as a testament to the resilience and adaptability of the Japanese population in their pursuit of happiness and connection