Yes, middle-aged men are in demand in Japan.
Websites such as Ossan Rental Services, and Support One offer humans for rent, according to the Japan Times. Ossan’s founder, Takanobu Nishimoto, who sspecialises in the rental of middle-aged men, said his initial aim was to change the perception in Japan that middle-aged men were disgusting and not useful.
On his website, people can request for a number of services from these middle-aged men that range from someone to just chat with, to a listener who can offer life advice. These cost about ¥1,000 (SGD 12.21) per hour, including taxes. To date, Ossan has dealt with more than 3,000 clients.
Another human rental company, Support One, allows people to rent dates for social events to act as fake families and even fake friends.
Masahiro Yamada, a professor of family sociology at Chuo University, explained that men in Japan often go to hostess bars or maid cafes for conversation and attention. Hence, it was easy for human rental services to be accepted into society.
The founder of Support One, Megumi Furukawa, started her business because she said, “I began to realise that people are looking not for material things but rather someone who will listen to their problems”.
She added, “There’s value in being able to make a connection with other people. It means something to someone if somebody else takes the time to listen to what they have to say”.
Generally these human rental websites state upfront that they do not provide sexual services.
Both owners are very cautious in their selection process before hiring anyone new. This is due to protect both female clients and staff.
Support One even provides services such as creating a website, starting a company, nursing care and walking pets.
These rental services walk a fine line when it comes to clients with problems. They would not want to overstep, nor would they want to fail to deliver.