In Japan, part of the aesthetic is minimalism, or what they’d describe as “beauty with subtraction.” Socially it’s possible that this core cultural value has been taken too literally. Japan has, unfortunately, a high suicide rate. Nobody apparently has any friends. And the productive people with idle time just come up with bizarre inventions like a “noodle-eaters hair guard.” Perhaps that’s why an enterprising young Japanese man by the name of Ryuichi Ichinokawa saw this schism in his culture as an opportunity. Need a best man at y0ur wedding? Or how about an underwhelming co-worker who’ll make you look good? Just rent one, baby!
Ichinokawa’s agancy, Hagemashi Tai [I Want to Cheer You Up] , was launched a few years ago. And he’s not alone:
The number of rent-a-friend agencies in Japan has doubled to about 10 in the past eight years. The best known, Office Agent, has 1,000 people on its books.
The interesting thing is that Ichinokawa is so devoted to his work he even once pretended to be someone’s husband.
If only they posted that job on Craigslist. I’d have jumped all over it (as long as it’s not for a divorcee from Beverly Hills).
I apologize in advance to my wife. But she knows I have career issues.