Japanese man makes a living renting himself out for odd jobs.
Shoji Morimoto, a 38-year-old man who lives in Tokyo, gets paid for doing nothing. That’s right – nothing. And he makes good pay, too. Some roll their eyes; others think Morimoto is lucky. Regardless of public opinion, he’s making this dream job happen.
Morimoto said, “Basically, I rent myself out. My job is to be wherever my clients want me to be and to do nothing in particular.”
He added that he has handled about 4000 gigs in the past four years. Morimoto, with average looks and a lean build, charges about 71 dollars (10,000 yen) per booking to simply be a companion.
The 38-year-old has an active Twitter page with nearly a quarter of a million followers. He reports that’s where he finds most of his clients, and about a quarter of them are customers who have requested his services on several occasions. One client has hired him 270 times!
Morimoto admits that before he started working as a companion, he worked for a publishing company where he often felt he was getting paid to do next to nothing.
“I started wondering what would happen if I provided my ability to ‘do nothing’ as a service to clients,” he said.
Although the Tokyo resident refused to disclose how much he makes, he says the companionship venture is now his primary source of income which he uses to support his family of three, including himself, his wife and a child. Before the pandemic hit, Morimoto said he saw about three to four clients a day, but post-pandemic, the numbers have been reduced to one to two per day.
Morimoto’s job is bizarre, but he doesn’t take just any offer. He has turned down obscene offers such as those of a sexual nature and one that would have required him to move a fridge to Cambodia. He discloses that the gig has made him experience things such as accompanying a client who wanted to play on a seesaw in a park. He also waved to a stranger who wanted a send-off through a train window.
Recently, the Tokyo man met with a 27-year-old woman, Aruna Chida. He sat opposite the data analyst clad in a sari having tea and cakes. Chida told him that she often wants to wear the Indian garment publicly but worried it might embarrass her friends. She also tends to feel the need to fill the air when there are awkward silences.
“With my friends I feel I have to entertain them, but with the rental guy (Morimoto) I don’t feel the need to be chatty,” Chida explained.
Morimoto believes that he is modeling a way of life that is counterintuitive to common culture, but nevertheless, an important part of being human. He feels that people need to take more time to simply relax.
“People tend to think that my ‘doing nothing’ is valuable because it is useful (for others). But it’s fine to really not do anything. People do not have to be useful in any specific way,” he said.