“Rent a Guy Who Does Nothing”


The strange service of “renting a guy who does nothing” is drawing eyes in Japan and the book 'Rentaru Nanmo Shinai Hito' toiu Sābisu o Hajimemasu [I’m Starting a “Rent a Guy Who Does Nothing” Service], published by Kawade Shobo Shinsha, has become an instant bestseller. The service is offered by Morimoto Sōji, a student of physics at Osaka University who ended up dropping out. While he briefly worked at a company, the stress of others’ expectations made him quit, at which time he became drawn to the concept of “people having value just by existing.” Due to his personality that made it hard for him to adjust society, he came to the realization that he was “best suited at doing nothing.”

In June 2018, he announced his service on twitter, stating that he could be rented for “going to shops you don’t want to enter alone, adding another person to your games, reserving a spot for cherry blossom viewing, anything you might need a single person for, though I can only give very basic answers.” He was soon flooded with requests, and now has over 160,000 followers.

Outside of the costs for transportation and on-site expenses, the service itself has no fee. While the early requests were “practical” in nature, such as standing in line for someone else, strange requests beyond even Morimoto’s expectations began to increase. One person asked him to wave him goodbye from the train station platform on the day he was to transfer to a new job location, saying that “Saying goodbye to a friend is too sad, so I’d rather do it with someone I don’t know.”

There are times when the closeness of a relationship can make it hard to say or ask something. Some requests ask him to just listen to what they have to say, as they find it freeing to talk to someone they barely know. While a person who “does nothing” might not be able to solve their problems or offer advice, it may be that letting it out helps in some small way. While the service itself may involve “doing nothing,” it may be that this is what allows the “value of just existing” to truly shine through.