Japan Has a Thriving Fake Friends and Family Industry

first_img Launchpad Blaze Postpones JAXA’s Cargo Ship Launch to ISSJapan’s Hayabusa-2 Probe Packs Up Space Rock Cargo From Asteroid Ryugu Stay on target For those without friends and family, life can be a very bleak place. However, in Western society, it’s becoming more and more acceptable to talk about the loss or lack of loved ones. Having outlets like the internet and support groups has made it a lot easier for people in the United States to reach out to those that understand their plight. Japan though, s another story.Japanese culture encourages individuals to be highly insular. Showing personal weakness and emotion in public or to peers is typically frowned upon, and conformity is prized above any unique traits a person has. Of course, this is a pretty bleak description of Japanese personal life, and there are exceptions of course, but for a lot of people there keeping up appearances is a paramount concern.That’s where companies like Family Romance come in. In an interview with The Atlantic, Family Romance CEO Ishii Yuichi went in-depth about his company, which provides professional actors to fill any requested role in a client’s personal life. With a stable of over 800 actors, you can find the grandma, father, boss, or friend you desire.Family Romance caters to some of the more unique social challenges the Japanese face in their lives. Yuichi gives an example of a mother whose daughter was being bullied because she didn’t have a father. The mother contacted Family Romance, and Yuichi was contracted to play the role of the girl’s father.This whole thing would sound like a sappy Hallmark Movie except the girl doesn’t know Yuichi is an actor. He was contracted when she was 12-years-old, and still thinks he’s her father after graduating high school. Yuichi says for four hours of time he gets around 20,000 yen ($200), plus expenses.If you can think of a role, one of Yuichi’s actors at Family Romance has likely filled it. His actors range from infants to the elderly, and will generally take any job that isn’t illegal or involves sexual contact. In the demanding rigors of Japanese culture, some women may hire a man to take them on a date because they don’t have time to cultivate a relationship.A grandfather may hire an infant on his deathbed so he can pretend to meet his unborn grandchild before he goes. A lesbian might employ a groom and wedding party to get an intolerant and pressuring family off her back. The list goes on and on.Make sure to check out the full interview for a fascinating look at a culture that is in so many ways utterly alien to what we’re used to in the West.last_img

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