Ever wanted a friend to join you for nothing in particular but had difficulties finding one? The solution could be Shoji Morimoto, a 38-year-old Japanese man known as “Rental-Do-Nothing-Man.”
As his moniker suggests, Morimoto offers a rather unconventional rental service to his customers in Tokyo by contracting himself out to, in his own words, “do nothing.”
“I am the ‘Rental-Do-Nothing-Man’. I provide a service where I can be rented to do nothing. This ‘Do-Nothing-Man’ is me and I rent myself out. I go to places where I am asked to, and I do nothing there,” says Shoji Morimoto.
Although agencies exist where you may hire actors to play your buddy or even your entire family, such rental services are not unheard of in Japan. Morimoto, however, stands out for his “effort-free” approach rather than for taking on any particular character.
“What I mean by doing nothing is, I eat and drink (with my clients), and I answer their simple questions with simple answers,” Morimoto clarified.
Morimoto claimed he has been employed over 4,000 times since launching his firm on a Twitter page in 2018 to give his service, primarily to dine with customers, attend events, and occasionally lend a sympathetic ear. Currently, Morimoto has about a quarter of a million Twitter followers, and about 25% of his clients are repeat business, including one woman who has used him 270 times.
Morimoto will provide his company for 10,000 yen ($71.20) each reservation. He said he won’t initiate discussion but will provide straightforward answers if necessary. In addition to his cost, he also charges for transportation, and if the assignment falls between mealtimes, clients will also be responsible for his food.
Despite offering what could seem to be a specialised service, Morimoto is frequently booked for three jobs a day.
Data analyst Aruna Chida is one such customer who learned about Morimoto while his company was buzzing on social media. The former resident of Mumbai, 27, had purchased a sari and was eager to wear it in public, but she was hesitant to invite her friends since they “could feel humiliated.” Instead, she made the choice to employ Morimoto to accompany her for afternoon tea while she was dressed in the Indian outfit.
She paid for Morimoto’s services for other reasons in addition to that, though.
“When I’m with my friends, I kind of feel like I have to entertain them. But with ‘Mr. Rental’ (Morimoto), I feel like I don’t have to say much and I can just keep quiet (whenever I want),” Chida said.
Due to privacy concerns, another client, who only desired to be named by her nickname “Kusa,” claimed she was having a bad day at work and needed to do something out of the ordinary to lift her spirits. Thus, the 33-year-old government employee engaged Morimoto in October 2020 to go to a curry supper with her while she was wearing a Pikachu costume. He was employed by her once more to hear about her life.
With Morimoto’s growing notoriety have come several demands that he has declined. Morimoto has previously turned down clients who wanted to take him to Trinidad and Tobago and those who asked him to assist with a move, in addition to his blanket denial of any requests that are sexual in nature.