The Booming Japanese Rent-a-Friend Business - The Atlantic


25 bookmarks. First posted by ilja 10 days ago.


'...Yuichi believes that Family Romance helps people cope with unbearable absences or perceived deficiencies in their lives. In an increasingly isolated and entitled society, the CEO predicts the exponential growth of his business and others like it, as à la carte human interaction becomes the new norm. -- #Morin: What was your very first role? #Yuichi: I had a single-mother friend, and she had a son. He was trying to enter a private school, but they denied him solely because he had no father. I wanted to challenge the unfairness of Japanese society, so I posed as his father. #Morin: Were you successful? #Yuichi: Not in that situation. But, it inspired the idea for this business. -- ... #Morin: I understand you work as a boyfriend too. Can you describe that experience? #Yuichi: Those clients are usually older ladies. It used to be primarily women in their 50s, but now there are even more women in their 30s. #Morin: Is this sexual or just platonic? #Yuichi: It’s a dating situation. It’s not about having sexual relations, although some women have expected that. Generally, the women just want to have fun with a younger man. They want to feel young again. #Morin: Why do you think these women hire you? #Yuichi: The women typically say that in a real relationship, you’re slowly building trust. It takes years to create a strong connection. For them, it’s a lot of hassle and disappointment. Imagine investing five years with someone and then they break up with you. It’s just easier to schedule two hours per week to interact with an ideal boyfriend. There’s no conflict, no jealousy, no bad habits. Everything is perfect. #Morin: You’ve been on so many fake dates—what is it like for you, in your own personal life, to go on an actual date? #Yuichi: I don’t have a real girlfriend right now. Real dating feels like work. It feels like work to care for a real person. #Morin: Do you plan on having a family someday? #Yuichi: Honestly, I’m full. I’m full of family, and I feel like it’s a lot to manage. Sometimes, a client asks me to be there in the room when she gives birth. One time, the client was a pregnant woman, and rather than ask her parents, she wanted me to be there. So, I went. Some women propose to me, and I say no, but it’s very hard for me to say no. #Morin: Why? #Yuichi: Many women say, “I want to marry you.” I say, “You’re in love with an order form. It’s not me—it’s the acting that you love.” If I married her, I’d have to keep acting. And, there are certain women who are wonderful, but the soul I have with them is not my real soul. So, I cannot and I would not. -- #Morin: What is your favorite role? #Yuichi: It doesn’t happen often, but there are cases when I have to be a groom. There are situations where parents pressure a daughter to marry—if she’s a lesbian, for example. So, they have an entire wedding, and it’s a fake wedding, except for the client’s family. The friends, and everyone else are fake. My side is all fake. Fifty fake people all pretending it’s real. The cost is 2 million yen, for everyone. -- #Morin: What do you predict for the future of your business? #Yuichi: The demand is increasing. More people, for example, want help to appear popular on social media. We had one man recently who paid a huge sum just to fly with five employees to Las Vegas and take pictures for Facebook. -- #Morin: Have you or any of your employees hired other actors for your own lives? #Yuichi: It happens. For instance, some employees hire actors to praise them in the presence of people they want to impress. Personally, when I throw speaking seminars, I often bring extras to bolster the crowd. #Morin: Is everyone in the world replaceable? #Yuichi: That’s a very good question. I’m not sure. There was one case of a man in his 60s. His wife died, and he wanted to order another copy of her. We provided that. -- #Yuichi: We have a huge variation of employees and the dedication to create an experience that surpasses reality. That’s why our motto is “more than real.” We had a case recently where a dying man wanted to see his grandchild, but it would not have been born in time. His daughter was able to rent an infant for the day. #Morin: What does it mean to be “more than real”? #Yuichi: There are less concerns. There is less misunderstanding and conflict. Our clients can expect better results. #Morin: You’re offering a more perfect form of reality? #Yuichi: More ideal. More clean.'
japan  acting  roleplaying  toyfriends  replicants  simulacra  consumerrecreationservices 
7 days ago by adamcrowe
t have a dad, so the mother
japanese  japan  culture 
8 days ago by zero1infinity
Interview with the founder of a company which provides actors for hire to play any role in your life that you require. Super surreal. The company has 800 employees.
interviews 
9 days ago by tealteal
Family Romance, the company
article  japan 
9 days ago by fiatjaf
It is almost certain that this is fake but its still a crazy story
dystopia  culture  self-care 
9 days ago by tjwds
- This is fascinating.
japanese  culture 
9 days ago by icco
Money may not be able to buy love, but here in Japan, it can certainly buy the appearance of love—and appearance, as the dapper Ishii Yuichi insists, is everything. As a man whose business involves becoming other people, Yuichi would know. The handsome and charming 36-year-old is on call to be your best friend, your husband, your father, or even a mourner at your funeral.

His 8-year-old company, Family Romance, provides professional actors to fill any role in the personal lives of clients. With a burgeoning staff of 800 or so actors, ranging from infants to the elderly, the organization prides itself on being able to provide a surrogate for almost any conceivable situation.

Yuichi believes that Family Romance helps people cope with unbearable absences or perceived deficiencies in their lives. In an increasingly isolated and entitled society, the CEO predicts the exponential growth of his business and others like it, as à la carte human interaction becomes the new norm.

Goes without saying, but this N-U-T-S
whatatime  societyhell  !dystopia  %greatstory 
10 days ago by lemeb
RT : The Booming Japanese Rent-A-Friend Business
from twitter
10 days ago by ripienaar