Japan is to host the world's second laughter competition on December 23 as competitive giggling takes off around the world.
The first contest was Le Championnat de Rire de Montreal, which took place in October, and now Japan has taken up the challenge to identify the best sniggerer.
The first Tokyo International Laughter Competition will be held this week at venues across the city, with the aim of encouraging happiness and good health, according to organisers.
"We should definitely laugh more," Akira Sugiura told Relaxnews. "If a person is too serious, it affects their brain and promotes heart disease. As well as the health benefits, laughter connects people, it brings individuals together and even has numerous benefits in the areas of business and creativity.
"If you laugh more, that naturally stimulates the right side of the brain, which is devoted to ideas and creativity," he said.
Japan may be the second country to hold a laughing contest, but the movement to make people giggle is taking off worldwide, according to organisers. As well as the Japanese capital, laughter competitions are being planned for Prague, Vienna and the town of Frontignan, in the south of France, where there is a school of laughter.
The competition is the brainchild of Albert Nerenberg, a Canadian movie maker who directed the documentary "Laughology."
According to the organisers, "Competitive laughing is a new international trend where people demonstrate the skills of contagious laughter to promote more laughter - to the entertainment of a live audience."
Tokyo's day or merriment will start in Yoyogi Park at 11 a.m. with a free, hour-long event, followed by a competition to crown Japan's Best Laughter 2010 in the Tsukiji district of eastern Tokyo. The event will also include the Japan premiere of "Laughology" and a special appearance by Albert Nerenberg.
During the making of the movie, Nerenberg said, he discovered the man with the Most Contagious Laugh in the World.
"It is interesting that the event is taking place in Japan as the Japanese do not generally consider themselves to be great laughers," said Nerenberg. "But I believe they are.
"Although the Japanese seem very serious, when they do laugh, they are very good," he added." The goal of this particular competition is to show what great laughers the Japanese can be, although as you know, they have a reputation for over-seriousness."
For more information, see http://laughteryoganet.jp or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org