Shoji Morimoto Offers Himself “For Rent” To Do Nothing—Here’s The Takeaway
Here is a man who makes a living by renting out himself to people’s request. Shoji has started offering himself since 2018 on his Twitter account, which now has over 270,000 followers. “I will lend you a person(me) who does nothing,” states his bio. It’s odd to think about this concept because we’ve never really seen anything like this before. Some may say it’s unique, whereas some may say it’s nonsense.
At a price set for 10,000 Japanese yen plus transportation and food fees, anyone can hire Shoji to be aside for a given session. And despite the cost, Shoji stated that he’d taken around 3,000 requests since starting the business.
During the session, which is stated around two to three hours, Shoji follows the client and stays beside them. He makes sure to let the client know that he can only do ‘easy’ tasks and have small talks if needed. He would often follow the client around, chit-chat occasionally, and ultimately make them feel accompanied.
And especially in Japan, where the culture is often not to reveal one’s inner feeling to others, there seem to be many people who struggle to resolve their stress and anxiety. In this case, people like Shoji are the ones who help these people feel better by letting them express their feelings without any judgment.
“I think the reason why people demand my services depends on the customer’s circumstances,” he said. “I think it comes down to needing ‘the presence of one human being’ in a given situation.”—VICE Interview with Shoji
It all started when Shoji quit his job after three years working as a book editor at the publishing house. When he found himself struggling to fit in his job, he decided to go on a different route. Maybe renting himself was an act of curiosity, but it has successfully been picked up by the people and allowed Shoji to gain popularity through media presence.
However, that doesn’t mean that anyone can rent themselves for doing nothing. Shoji is doing intensive work that requires lots of emotional drainages, which can be more challenging than physical work. It requires patience, discipline, and a strong mentality to make others feel better. And this has been proven by many of his client’s reviews, mostly stating that they felt much better after being accompanied by someone.
After reading Shoji’s story, I personally thought that there were some key takeaways.
#1. Although Internet Has Enabled Globalization, Human-To-Human Interaction Still Matters
Pandemic has shown us that we took everything before for granted. I believed that an individual could achieve great results but later realized that interaction with others could bring incredible results. During the pandemic, many of us suffered from being unable to meet our friends, family, and love ones. Although we can communicate with others online, it never seemed to satisfy our desire to be with someone physically—and that togetherness, after all, was the key factor that helped stable our mental health and well-being.
And that—I believe is the reason why Shoji has figured out after renting himself to others. He has probably realized that we, the people, need to be accompanied to fulfill our inner needs. Being with someone physically allowed people to feel better than communicating online.
#2. People May Call Shoji Weird, But To Me, He Is Brave Enough To Start Something New
I appreciate Shoji because he has fulfilled what he loves to do by trying out the unordinary. Some people may think Shoji is earning by doing nothing, but the act of showing up to someone itself is something rather than nothing. His bravery with his choice of publically stating that he will rent himself to others is a major leap of faith that he’s taken to find a better meaning in his life. We, too, should grow the courage to truly follow what we really want to do, rather than settling on what we currently do.
#3. Emotional Well-Being Is More Important Now Than Ever Before
We should never underestimate our emotional well-being because it’s a driving force that allows us to do what we can and have to do. A well-balanced emotion can bring us further ahead than being emotionally unstable. And by this, we can understand why the clients are paying Shoji’s time. These clients are striving for better emotional well-being, and their way is to be accompanied by someone (even strangers) who can stay next to them for even a few hours. It’s the emotional stability that is more valuable than the money to them. Pandemic has put many people in misery. People have lost jobs, stability in income, and happiness. And heck, social media has even furthered us more apart. Therefore, we should not put low prioritization on our relationship and emotional well-being.
Although the service is only popular in Japan, I hope that renting individuals to better people’s emotional prosperity can become a global norm that allows a more stable and happier society.