April 19, 2024

Balkan Travellers

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Unusual.  At 38, he is known as the ‘guy who paid for nothing’.

Unusual. At 38, he is known as the ‘guy who paid for nothing’.

Introducing the services of a completely unfamiliar person to his friends or family, especially during official ceremonies or large receptions, is a surprising but common practice in Japan and South Korea. Shoji Morimoto, a 38-year-old Japanese man, went a step further by offering his services … do nothing.

Just balance

Sure, people invite him to be by their side, that’s all. He does not need to converse, he is satisfied with his presence for 10,000 yen or 73 euros. The Independent.

For example, a customer told me to wait for him at the end of a marathon and he saw a familiar face in the crowd after the run. When he finished his dissertation, another told her to sit down with him, unable to work alone. He has also gone for hemorrhoid surgery or counseling to sign divorce papers.

This lifestyle is most suitable for a person under the age of 30, even if he does not work, is not very talkative or very expressive.

Shoji Morimoto got into the business after being criticized for not doing enough or doing anything in his previous jobs. “I decided to take advantage of it and make it a business,” he explains.

Stranger than relative

Shoji Morimoto found that his clients did not want to impose their needs on those they cared about. He brings them the emotional support they need, but does not dare to ask their loved ones. “They want to access a foreigner who has no strings attached,” he says succinctly.

“When interacting with friends and others, unknown factors can always work. But by summoning a stranger, it is much easier to know what to expect and to control the situation,” explains Professor Yasushi Fuji. Psychology at Meiji University in Tokyo.

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After more than 4,000 customers, Shoji Morimoto believes his client’s success is due to his unreasonableness and his empathy.

Its success is enviable: its functionality has been the subject of three books and even turned into a TV series.