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Japanese Company Rents Instant Family and Friends

A Japanese business called "Family Romance" has actors for hire, ready and willing to be anything from your baby to your grandparent. "In an increasingly isolated and entitled society, the CEO [Ishii Yuichi] predicts the exponential growth of his business and others like it, as à la carte human interaction becomes the new norm," wrote Roc Morin in The Atlantic.

There doesn't seem to be any ask too big for Yuichi's company. He's played a dad to children who don't know he's been hired. He's been a groom in faux weddings that the attendees didn't know were staged. His company even provided a baby for a pregnant woman—who hadn't yet delivered—who was desperate to have her dying dad meet his "grandchild."

And as outlandish as the idea might sound now, it's ultimately believable that this trend could one day come to America: if Yuichi is right, the desire to rent loved ones comes from a longing for control combined with a vast laziness—two sentiments alive and well in our current culture. Describing why women choose to hire him as a boyfriend, Yuichi says:

The women typically say that in a real relationship … it takes years to create a strong connection. For them, it's a lot of hassle and disappointment. … It's just easier to schedule two hours per week to interact with an ideal boyfriend. There's no conflict, no jealousy, no bad habits. Everything is perfect.

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