Why Are Japanese Male Workers Experiencing Stimulated Menstrual Pain?

Male office workers at a Tokyo-based telecoms firm underwent a unique workshop where male employees experienced simulated menstrual pain to support the cause of inclusive workplaces

Oshi Saxena
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Image Credit : REUTERS/Issei Kato

Male office workers at Tokyo-based telecoms firm EXEO Group Inc. underwent a unique and empathetic experience. The company organised a workshop where male employees experienced simulated menstrual pain using the innovative "perionoid" device. This endeavour aimed to foster greater understanding and empathy among the predominantly male workforce towards their female colleagues.


During the workshop, EXEO Group workers gathered to experience the "perionoid" device, designed in collaboration with researchers from Nara Women's University and startup Osaka Heat Cool. This VR electrical device, strategically placed below the navel, sent electric signals to stimulate the lower stomach muscles, replicating the cramping sensation associated with menstrual pain. The participants, including 26-year-old Masaya Shibasaki, expressed genuine discomfort and a newfound appreciation for the challenges women face.


Shibasaki shared his experience, stating, "I couldn't move. It hurt to the point where I couldn't stand. I now understand that  women have to work while fighting this pain every month. It's actually amazing how women can do that. I really respect them."

The company, which has a workforce comprising more than 90% males, is committed to creating an inclusive and supportive workplace. The initiative aligns with the company's broader goal of encouraging empathy and understanding, particularly concerning issues like menstrual pain. By engaging male employees in this hands-on experience, the company aims to cultivate an environment where colleagues are more supportive of their female peers, even when it comes to taking menstrual leave.

In Japan, companies are legally obligated to allow women to take  menstrual leave, although it may not always be paid. Shockingly, surveys reveal that approximately half of female workers never utilize this benefit. The company hopes that the participants in this unique workshop will become advocates for change within their workplace. Maki Ogura, EXEO's public relations officer, emphasized, "We hope those who experienced (menstrual pain) today go back to their workplace and speak about how they felt, and spread their understanding."

The initiative is a noteworthy stride towards fostering empathy, understanding, and support in the workplace. By providing male employees with a firsthand experience of simulated menstrual pain, the company aims to break down barriers and contribute to a more inclusive corporate culture. As International Women's Day approaches, the company's commitment to creating a workplace where every employee feels valued and understood is both commendable and transformative.

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