Rental Person Who Does Nothing

Shoji Morimoto

Translated by Don Knotting
06 July 2023
160 pages


Need a rental person who does nothing?

Shoji Morimoto provides a fascinating service to the lonely and socially anxious. After an old boss told him that he contributed nothing and that it made no difference whether he showed up to work or not, he wondered if a person who ‘does nothing’ could still have a place in the world. With a tweet, his Rental Person service was born.

- Have a deep secret you desperately need to reveal, so deep that you can’t tell a friend or family member?
- Have you spent a long time home alone, and want to know what it’s like to have somebody with you at your apartment?
- Or for someone to simply think of you on a stressful day? Or wave to you as you leave the train station on a long journey?

Morimoto is dependable, non-judgmental and committed to remaining a stranger throughout each request, and his encounters are revelatory about both Japanese society and human psychology.

In Rental Person Who Does Nothing, Morimoto chronicles his extraordinary experiences in his unique line of work and reflects on how we consider relationships, jobs and family in our search for meaningful connection and purpose in life.

Distinctively Japanese musings on meaning and connection
A beguiling kind of picaresque
Lays bare the bathos and banality of contemporary life . . . Morimoto, though still elusive, emerges as a modern Bartleby, an inadvertent dissident, someone who has come to see his practice as being “about enjoying the absurdity of swimming against the tide of efficiency”