Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced Friday it will open a clown college in Japan to teach Japanese businessmen to relax and joke around.
"We want to teach Japanese business people how to be a little less uptight through clowning," said Kenneth Feld, president and owner of Irving and Kenneth Feld Productions, Inc., which produces the circus. The clown college will open next year in Tokyo and cater to the workaholic Japanese businessmen who could use some comic relief, Feld said.Japanese workers put in more hours than counterparts in any other major Western democracy, toiling 2,150 hours a year, compared with 1,924 hours in the United States.
But with the Japanese economy booming, the government has recently begun a campaign to encourage employees to take more time off. However, many Japanese still choose to work all year instead of taking their alloted vacation, saying they do not know what to do with leisure time.
Feld said that he came to Japan to show the Japanese what to do with their free time and spare money, adding that he hopes to make a sizable profit in the process.
The Tokyo clown college will also train clowns for a professional tour of Japan and to do public service work entertaining children at hospitals, Feld said.
Feld's announcement came one day before the Ringling Brothers circus opens for a six-week run in Tokyo. The circus, making its first overseas tour in at least 20 years, opened on July 1 in Sapporo.