Morimoto Shoji has been getting quite popular in Japan. This guy is available for rent and tons of people are now queuing up to rent him. But the thing is, he does nothing. And that is blatantly written on his Twitter profile, yet he’s got over 140,000 followers.
For your reference, on the left panel, his profile reads:
I am renting out a guy who does nothing (me). Constantly available for rent. All you have to pay is my transportation from Kokubunji Station, and any such additional costs required as food & beverages. For inquiries, please send me a direct message. I can only eat and drink, and answer simple questions and nothing else.
And on the right, the sticky post reads:
I’m starting Rent a Guy Who Does Nothing service. Please make use of this service if you need the presence of a person such as someone to accompany you to a shop you find difficult to enter yourself; a person to make up numbers for your games; someone to reserve a spot for your cherry blossom viewing, etc. I will only accept transportation costs from Kokubunji Station and F&B costs (if any). Also, I only answer simple questions and do nothing else.
The service started in June 2018 and in the following 9 months, he’s already been rented by over 1,000 people. Morimoto is 35 this years and married with 1 child, and since he started this service without any income, he’s been living on his savings.
After graduating with a Masters in Physics, Morimoto started working at an educational publishing house. However, he couldn’t blend into the work environment and began job hopping until the point where he felt like he didn’t want to do anything.
As Morimoto said, “I was a cram school teacher during my college days, so I had thought I would be good at coming up with questions for educational material. However, as I started working quietly by myself at work, I was told to place more emphasis in team work and communicate with other members. I don’t like being made to talk to the same person everyday and that made it difficult for me to stay at the company, and so I resigned after 3 years. After that, I tried to do copywriting but then failed in the advertising industry. I thought that doing editing would suit me since I can focus on my work alone, but that also didn’t work out. Everything I tried to do, I failed and that made me not want to do anything. And gradually I realised that I have a stronger desire to do nothing than anyone else.”
One day, he learned about this guy known as Pro Ogorareyer, one who leads his life by having others give him a treat, and that gave him a stronger desire to do nothing. Rather than being controlled by the societal norm of having to work to lead a life, he wondered if he could live without doing anything. While pondering over how he can lead a life doing nothing, he eventually arrived at the decision to rent himself out.
Among the many rentals he received, the requests have also been varied. For example, he’s been invited to a high-end tepanyaki shop because the renter wanted to give someone a treat and enjoy the meal. Another time, he was invited to a major league baseball match because the renter felt that if he went with someone with as much knowledge in baseball, their opinions would clash, so he prefered to go with someone who knew nothing about it. At the game in Tokyo Dome, the renter provided him with live commentary and all he had to do was sit and listen.
There were also times when he witnessed life-changing decisions. One such time was when the renter wanted him to accompany her to submit her divorce application and change back her family name. Another time, he sat nearby the renter who confronted her husband about a possible affair.
Even so, Morimoto shares that he is unable to act according to the circumstance and so he just stays with the renter for several hours doing nothing except for being there.
He’s also accompanied someone to their piles removal surgery, to a trial hearing, attend the announcement of medical school tests, etc. and all these came up to about 20 requests per day such that he had to adjust his schedule up to 1 month in advance. He’s been handling about 3-4 requests per day. If the renter permits, he will upload the content of the rent to his Twitter account and sometimes shares his thoughts about them as well. A look at his Twitter timeline reveals a lot of real-life issues that people are facing and the 140,000-over followers now eagerly await his sharing of another interesting renter story.
Morimoto says that his presence gives people a sense of ease and lets people like him—those who are unable to fit into corporations or the society—know that it’s alright for them to be in this world. This experience is rewarding and experiences can never be taken away from him, and he feels that it may someday be used to make some money.
Morimoto wants to offer this service for as long as he can and regarding the frequency of requests by renters for him to listen to their troubles that they find difficult to share with others, he has this to say: “There are a variety of reasons people find it difficult to share certain things with others. If they complain about things to their friends, it might be spread to other friends; if they talk about their achievements, people may dislike them for showing off. Some people have established a certain characteristics among their friends, so they find it difficult to talk to them about their girlfriends, and some have very serious troubles yet sharing with their partners who may encourage them in turn gives them more stress. Among those, there was also one person who didn’t want to share her secrets with her friends as she was worried that may be used against her if they fall out one day. There are as many different troubles as there are different reasons for people renting me. Nevertheless, the reasons always fall back to the same point that those issues cannot be settled in their regular relationships with others. Many people also share the same trouble as I had in having difficulty being made to communicate with the same people on a daily basis. Perhaps such a service is also something I myself need.”
Last month, Morimoto has released a book that contains his experiences through this service. The book is available on Amazon and is now a #1 Best Seller. It’s only in Japanese but you can buy it here if you’re interested.
Looks like he’s not “doing nothing” anymore.