‘I Reply to Chitchat, but That’s It’
- Shoji Morimoto works as a so-called “Do Nothing Rent-a-Man.”
- People hire the 38-year-old to join them in activities like eating, shopping, and going for walks.
- “I don’t make any special effort,” he told CBS News, adding, “I reply to chitchat, but that’s it.”
Shoji Morimoto loves his job, but he doesn’t try very hard at it.
That, in fact, is exactly what makes him so good at it.
The 38-year-old Japanese man offers his services — or lack thereof — as a so-called “rent-a-man.”
“I lend myself out to do nothing, which means I don’t make any special effort,” he told CBS Saturday Morning. “I don’t initiate conversation. I reply to chitchat, but that’s it.”
People pay him to join them in activities ranging from the mundane, like having a meal, to the extreme, like listening to a murder confession.
Morimoto got his start in the unusual job in 2018, when he was unemployed and opened a Twitter account called “Do Nothing Rent-a-Man” to advertise his services. He now has more than 200,000 followers.
Morimoto told CBS News he’s constantly amazed at the “huge variety of personalities, circumstances, and situations” of his clients.
“Some people are lonesome,” he said. “Some feel it’s a shame to go somewhere (interesting) alone — they want someone to share their impressions with.”
He books up to three gigs a day and has completed more than 3,000 so far, according to The Independent.
His past gigs include sharing a coffee in silence, listening to a busker, sharing cake with someone on their birthday, accompanying people to restaurants and shops, and joining a client on a swing set, he told CBS News. Some of the requests he has turned down include cleaning houses, doing laundry, posing nude, and becoming someone’s friend.
“I’m not a friend or an acquaintance,” Morimoto previously told Japan’s Mainichi Shimbun newspaper. “I’m free of the bothersome things that accompany relationships but can ease people’s sense of loneliness.”
Japan has recently struggled with managing loneliness and social isolation among residents. In 2020, the country reported rising suicide rates for the first time in 11 years and appointed a “Minister of Loneliness” to help tackle the problem.