Review: Shoji Morimoto – Rental Person Who Does Nothing

Rental Person Who Does Nothing: A memior
Shoji Morimoto

“Today, I’m starting a ‘rent a person who does nothing‘ service . . . Except for very simple conversation, I’m afraid I can do nothing.  Shoji Morimoto was constantly being told that he was a ‘do-nothing’ because he lacked initiative. Dispirited and unemployed, it occurred to him that if he was so good at doing nothing, perhaps he could turn it into a business. And with one tweet, he began his business of renting himself out . . . to do nothing. Morimoto, aka Rental Person, provides a fascinating service to the lonely and socially anxious.”

I received this tiny little non-fiction in the mail, and couldn’t believe my eyes that it was AU$32. I knocked it down in less than 2 hours, and unfortunately, didn’t get much out of it. There’s also a TV drama.  I’ve dreamed (not very deeply) of being a nude model for art classes, which is pretty much ‘do nothing’ as far as I’m concerned. Mr. Morimoto’s idea is that doing nothing is ok – it’s not what someone does that makes them ‘useful’.

The book implies that he is free to hire, and all you pay is transportation and food if the ‘appointment’ is during meal times. Perhaps this was true when he started in 2018, but a quick google says that he charges 10’000 yen or ~US$80 per appointment. I reckon that’s a pretty good return! He also said in the book that he was living off his savings, but as of 2022 he does make a living from it (on Twitter it says his fee is 30’000 yen).

I don’t think there’s room for a do nothing person in Australia. Plenty of Aussies are very proud they do nothing! I very much doubt you’d find someone to pay you for nothing. I think that maybe Japanese society is fit for this, as you can rent a person for many other things. And perhaps there is more focus on what it looks like to others when you go places alone? Honestly, if I was going to pay someone as company, as a slender white Queer ciswoman, I’d be hiring a proper boyguard who can defend me if needed (particularly travelling in countries not safe for women).

Anyway, I don’t think this memoir is a good fit for the Australia market. Maybe borrow it from the library or a friend, or give it to someone as a cheeky gift! Maybe it’ll be perfect for gifting to that person in the office who never does anything…

Pan Macmillan | 11 July 2023 | AU$29.99 | paperback

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