Do you remember how to make a smile?

For the past three years, our faces have been in a state of “lack of exercise”, and now “smile training” is attracting attention.

Demand is on the rise ahead of March 13, when mask-wearing becomes a personal decision.

(Interview team Mayumi Ikeda and Ritsuko Tamura)

Relaxation of mask wearing On SNS

Regarding the wearing of masks, various opinions have been raised on SNS after the government decided to leave it to individual judgment from March 13th.

"I'm worried about it, but I'm honestly happy that the day will come when I can see a smile instead of wearing a mask." "I can't live without a mask now. Part of my body



"I wonder if I don't have to wear a mask"

Focus on “smile training”

Under these circumstances, there is a growing need for “smile training”.

The goal is to create a “nice smile” by rehabilitating the muscles around the mouth that have weakened due to wearing a mask for a long time.

When I interviewed several companies and organizations that provide these programs, they said that the number of reservations and inquiries is increasing.

Ms. Keiko Kawano, who conducts a smile training course for corporate training, says:

“Since it was reported that the measures will be eased from March 13, the number of inquiries has clearly increased, and requests have come in from all over the country. There are many voices of anxiety, 'What should I do when I remove the mask?'

What is the point of a smile?

It is a mechanism that "the corners of the mouth rise → the cheeks rise → the cheeks push up the lower eyelids to create a gentle eye area".

Reporters challenge training!

It's been 3 years since I've been wearing a mask due to corona misfortune.

In addition to showing my mouth and laughing in public, I spent most of my time not moving my mouth so that the mask would not shift.

According to Mr. Kawano, due to these effects, the face is in a state of “lack of exercise”.

“The muscles of the mouth are connected to the muscles of the face, so the lack of exercise in the face continues. In particular, if the muscles of the cheeks are not moved, they will weaken, and if they are not moved, they will look expressionless. I will train."

I actually experienced what kind of training it was.

Here's a picture of a normal smile.

It feels awkward.

So, the training Mr. Kawano taught me was...

1. While biting your lower lip with your upper teeth, raise the corners of your mouth and make a smile so that you can see the 8 upper teeth.

Keep this shape for 5 seconds as the cheek muscles will naturally swell.

2, Return the shape of the mouth to a straight face.

3. Next, make an "O" shape by puckering your mouth and hold for 10 seconds.

Repeat 1 to 3 for 3 sets.

Step 1 trains the zygomaticus major muscle that pulls up the corners of the mouth, and Step 3 stretches the muscles of the nose and cheeks.

It's a simple and easy movement, but when I do it repeatedly, I feel a little tired around my cheeks, and I realized that I'm using facial muscles that I wasn't usually conscious of.

If you compare the facial expressions, you can clearly see the difference.

Before the training, I kept my mouth closed and made facial expressions, but when I showed my teeth and smiled, I felt that I somehow had a bright and soft atmosphere.

It is also effective to turn the tongue inside the mouth or stick it out with the face facing upwards. It means that it will give you a gentle impression.

Individuals or groups attending

According to Mr. Kawano, the number of courses held from November last year to January this year has more than tripled compared to the previous year.

After the government's policy for relaxation was announced, the number of inquiries has increased further.

On this day, a woman who took an online training for individuals said she wanted to have a beautiful smile before she had more opportunities to remove her mask in the future.

(Female participant)

"I feel that my face and smile have changed because I started working from home during the three years of the COVID-19 pandemic and have had fewer opportunities to talk to people. Before I spend more time, I thought I'd like to restore it."

In addition, a major insurance company held a smile training course in January in anticipation of the relaxation of mask policies.

(Insurance company representative)

“A smile is very important for salespeople. I took this course because my facial expressions were getting stiffer while wearing a mask. I want to do my best.” I think it was a good training.”

On the other hand, the Kanagawa Prefectural Government wants to use it to create a comfortable working environment and prevent troubles.

(Person in charge of Kanagawa Prefecture)

"In the newly established department due to the corona sickness, there was an atmosphere where it was difficult to talk to each other because the faces and names of the staff did not match, and there was an issue that it was difficult to consult about work. I am working. I thought it would be effective to take 'smile training' because it is difficult to see each other's faces just by looking at each other's faces." Kawano also has a company that incorporates smile training into new employee training

. It means that a request has been received from ``I want employees who joined the company during the three years of the corona wreck to undergo training''.

"I'm worried without a mask..." Learn makeup and grooming

University students who are scheduled to graduate next spring, who started job hunting in earnest on March 1, are making a move to review their overall appearance after removing their masks, not just their smiles.

According to the company that operates the job hunting site, many face-to-face interviews without wearing masks are expected in this year's job hunting.

At the seminar held by this company at the start of job hunting, university students learned about grooming and makeup in preparation for face-to-face interviews without wearing masks.

Practical practice was also held, and the instructors gave advice such as ``Choose a glossy lipstick'' and ``You can hide your beard with an orange concealer''.

(Female student)

"I'm worried about talking to people without a mask. I usually don't care about the color of my lips because I wear a mask.

(Male student)

“I learned that you can hide your beard with make-up


(Erika Nakane, manager of the job hunting site management company)

“Students who are looking for a job this year are worried about removing their masks because the corona crisis has been long. I want you to learn how to dress for a job interview.”

Interview postscript

A life wearing a mask that has become ′′ obvious ′′ in the last 3 years.

There are still situations where people cannot let go of masks, such as when visiting medical institutions where there are many people at high risk of becoming seriously ill, or on trains during rush hours. You may be able to see more of the smiles of your colleagues and friends that you couldn't see.

Those of us interviewed this time joined NHK in April 2019 and April 2020, respectively.

Many of my interviewees, bosses, and colleagues at work have never seen my face in its entirety.

I'm sure you'll feel uncomfortable and embarrassed at first, but I'm excited to see a new side of the people I've met over the past three years.

Through the interview, Mr. Kawano, who is doing "smile training", said that his smile "makes my heart brighter" left an impression on me.

(Keiko Kawano)

“Smiles not only make people around you smile, but they also increase your motivation. It will be a gift for the future in the years to come, so when you can take off your mask, I hope you will smile at yourself and the people around you.”