Q1: About how often do you have occassion to cry? (Sample size=502)

All Male
Once a week or more 11.4% 6.8% 16.5%
Once a month 24.9% 16.5% 34.3%
Once every three months 15.7% 15.4% 16.1%
Once every six months 11.8% 10.5% 13.1%
Once every nine months 0.4% 0.4% 0.4%
Once a year 14.3% 18.4% 9.7%
Less than that 21.5% 32.0% 9.7%

Art by Mukkun

Q2: What kind of emotion most often causes you to cry? (Sample size=502)

All Male
Being moved 59.8% 65.4% 53.4%
Sadness 17.3% 14.7% 20.3%
Bitterness 6.2% 4.5% 8.1%
Joy 5.4% 7.1% 3.4%
Harshness 3.8% 0.8% 7.2%
Anger 2.0% 1.1% 3.0%
Other 5.6% 6.4% 4.7%

“Harshness” could also be interpreted as “spiciness” as they share the same kanji, but I don’t think curry is an emotional experience.

Art by Kieta

Q3: What most often causes you to cry? (Sample size=502)

All Male
Television programs 28.5% 28.6% 28.4%
Movies 26.3% 32.7% 19.1%
Human relations 19.9% 14.3% 26.3%
Books 8.2% 7.1% 9.3%
Work 3.4% 2.3% 4.7%
Music 2.2% 1.9% 2.5%
Participating in an event 1.6% 2.3% 0.8%
Other 10.0% 10.9% 8.9%

Art by CLAMP

Q4: When crying, do you hold back the tears or sobs? (Sample size=502)

All Male
Always hold back 24.1% 27.8% 19.9%
Usually hold back 46.0% 38.0% 55.1%
Sometimes hold back 18.5% 20.3% 16.5%
Never hold back 11.4% 13.9% 8.5%

Art by Bunnymenjdno

Q5: Do you relieve stress when you cry? (Sample size=502)

All Male
Completely relieve 14.3% 10.2% 19.1%
Relieve a little 49.4% 44.7% 54.7%
Don’t relieve 36.3% 45.1% 26.3%

Art by Kitsuta

Source: What Japan Thinks


  • On average men cry once every month, women cry at least five times per month, especially before and during the menstrual cycle when crying can increase up to 5 times the normal rate, often without obvious reasons (such as depression or sadness).
  • Tears produced during emotional crying have a chemical composition which differs from other types of tears. They contain significantly greater quantities of hormones prolactin, adrenocorticotropic hormone, Leu-enkephalin and the elements potassium and manganese.
  • William H. Frey II, a biochemist at the University of Minnesota, proposed that people feel “better” after crying, due to the elimination of hormones associated with stress, specifically adrenocorticotropic hormone.


Coping Mechanisms

Action-based coping

Action-based coping involves actually dealing with a problem that is causing stress. Examples can include getting a second job in the face of financial difficulties, or studying to prepare for exams. Examples of action-based coping include planning, suppression of competing activities, confrontation, self-control, and restraint.

Emotion-based coping

Emotion-based coping skills reduce the symptoms of stress without addressing the source of the stress. Sleeping or discussing the stress with a friend are all emotion-based coping strategies. Other examples include denial, rationalization, repression, wishful thinking, distraction, relaxation, reappraisal, and humor. There are both positive and negative coping methods.

Harmful coping methods

Some coping methods are more like habits than skills, and can be harmful. Overused, they may actually worsen one’s condition. Alcohol, cocaine and other drugs may provide temporary escape from one’s problems, but, with excess use, ultimately result in greater problems. Other less extreme cases involve skin biting, nail biting, and hair pulling.


Other Surveys about Japan

6 thoughts on “What Makes Japanese Cry?

  1. interesting read!

    “but I don’t think curry is an emotional experience”
    tell that to the cast of Yakitate!! Japan 😉 lol

    About women crying more around the menstrual cycle. For some it’s a good way to relieve pain as tears help with that because there’s something released when you cry that helps with pain. It works for me sometimes so I watch sad things when I’m going through a lot of pain during my menstrual cycle.

  2. I didn’t know that emotional tears have different ingredients than others…interesting. And there was something that caught my attention: men cry more at movies , women more in series…I think that tells a lot about the culture of watch for each gender…Damn, soap operas rule everywhere…

    1. Yes, I also find it interesting that the content of tears varies with affect.

      I wonder if such a comparison between sexes on media type is confounded by the preference.

      1. “I wonder if such a comparison between sexes on media type is confounded by the preference.”

        What exactly do you have on mind? What other factors could influence what people watch? If you mean that because women watch while doing housework, then I’d say there are other posibilities and the ‘power’ to choose another media.

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