Skip to content
Menu

A Japanese prefecture has passed a law on daily laughing

While Yamagata’s new ordinance doesn’t compel residents to laugh every day, it highly recommends they get into the habit – for health reasons
  • The prefecture’s university has linked a lack of laughter to ‘all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease’

ARTICLE BY

PUBLISHED

ARTICLE BY

PUBLISHED

UPDATED: 11 Jul 2024, 7:49 am

Japan’s Yamagata prefecture, located in the northern part of the country’s main island of Honshu, has passed an ordinance requesting that its residents laugh at least once a day. Local business operators have also been mandated to “develop a workplace environment that is filled with laughter,” the South China Morning Post reports.

While local authorities have said they won’t penalise residents who can’t raise a daily chuckle, there are good reasons for people to try – according to research from Yamagata University’s Faculty of Medicine, which has linked laughter to longer lives.

The study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology in 2020, found that “all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease incidence were significantly higher among subjects with a low frequency of laughter”. 

[See more: Warmer winters are threatening one of Japan’s most popular sakura trees]

The study comprised more than 17,000 subjects participating in annual health checks in Yamagata. It also noted that regular laughter was also associated with higher levels of life enjoyment, positivity, openness and competency.

Put forward by members of Japan’s conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), and passed on Friday, the ordinance has received some flak. A member of the Japanese Communist Party (JCP) noted that, “To laugh or not to laugh is one of the fundamental human rights that is guaranteed by the constitution.”

A member of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ), meanwhile, expressed concern that the ordinance undermined “the human rights of those who have difficulties laughing due to illness or other reasons.”

UPDATED: 11 Jul 2024, 7:49 am

Send this to a friend