Looks like someone has finally lived the ultimate dream: to earn money while doing nothing.
Or rather, to earn money by doing nothing. This is exactly how Shoji Morimoto from Tokyo, Japan has been earning a living since 2018. For 10,000 yen (around P4,600), you get to rent him out to do nothing except “eat, drink, and give a simple response.”
Morimoto first got into the business of doing nothing in June 2018 when he posted a tweet that explained his unique selling proposition:
“I offer myself for rent, as a person who does nothing. Is it difficult for you to enter a shop on your own? Are you missing a player on your team? Do you need someone to keep a place for you? I can’t do anything except easy things.”
While the initial advertisement was pro-bono, he soon started to charge for his service to dissuade those who would waste his time and to get to the more serious clients faster. Since starting, he has had over 3,000 requests.
And Morimoto might have gone through every possible scenario when you’d only need someone’s presence to get through. He has signed up for gaming sessions just to make up numbers, escorted someone in grief while they file for divorce, sat with someone over lunch, served as the send-off for someone moving away, joined someone to make them feel safe while meeting a stranger for the first time. He has even posed for Instagram photos.
At times, he would get hired for more sullen reasons. He has been paid to accompany someone to the spot where they once tried to commit suicide, to listen to healthcare workers whose work has made them mentally weary, and to describe a murder that the person has committed, through it all providing nothing but his presence.
In short, Morimoto commits to really doing nothing. Because sometimes, that’s all the support you need.
Morimoto believes so too. “I myself don’t like to be cheered on by others. I get upset when people simply tell me keep on trying. When someone is trying to do something, I think the best thing to do is to help lower the bar for them by staying at their side.”
“I’m not a friend or an acquaintance. I’m free of the bothersome things that accompany relationships, but can ease people’s sense of loneliness. Maybe it’s something like that for me,” Morimoto clarifies his nonchalance to the Mainichi Shimbun, one of Japan’s major news outlets.
Though the job looks fit for a loner, Morimoto is far from being one. He is happily married and has a post-graduate degree in physics from Osaka University. However, he found it difficult to fit into the office setting, so he quit, and not long after, discovered a fruitful career out of doing nothing.
Now, he has over 270,000 Twitter followers, written books charting his career path, and even inspired a TV series.
Our increased isolation today has only created a larger and more urgent demand for the type of service Morimoto provides. Having more people longing for a company – for someone to simply sit a safe distance from them – is, for Morimoto, best for business.