Rental Person Who Does Nothing
Translated by Don Knotting
Profiled in The Times, The Independent and by BBC Reels
I’m starting a service . . . available for any situation in which all you want is a person to be there. Maybe there’s a restaurant you want to go to, but you feel awkward going on your own.
Maybe a game you want to play, but you’re one person short.
Or perhaps you’d like someone to keep a space in the park for your cherry blossom viewing party . . .
Shoji Morimoto was constantly being told by his boss that he contributed nothing to the company he worked for and that it made no difference whether he showed up or not. He began to wonder whether a person who ‘does nothing’ could still have value and a place in the world. Perhaps he could turn ‘doing nothing’ into a service? With one tweet, Rental Person was born.
Morimoto, aka Rental Person, provides a fascinating service to the lonely and socially anxious. He is dependable, non-judgmental and committed to remaining a stranger and the curious encounters he shares 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.