Japan Today
Image: YouTube/Asian Boss

Renting a girlfriend in Japan: Relationship goals or just plain awkward?

By Oona McGee, SoraNews24

In recent years, people in Japan have been saving face, showing off, or curing their blues by renting family members, friends, partners, and hot guys to wipe away their tears.

Now, these rental services are becoming increasingly popular in Japan, where people can be busy overworking themselves or struggling to connect with people in the real world offline. So what’s it like to go on a date with a rental girlfriend? And what’s it like to be one? YouTube channel Asian Boss recently addressed the topic in a video by trying out one of the services in Tokyo, and discussing all the details with rental girlfriend Shihomi over a meal and a coffee.

Take a look at the video below:

In the video, Shihomi, or Shiho-chan, goes on a date with her bae Max, meeting on a street in Tokyo before heading to a fugu blowfish restaurant for lunch.

Here she reveals the price of renting a girlfriend, which, at her company, costs 6,000 yen per hour for a two-hour minimum rental. This means it costs at least 12,000 yen to rent a girlfriend, and while first-timers can select their girlfriend at no extra charge, selections after the first date come at an additional cost of 2,000 yen.

Shiho says the rental girlfriend gets paid roughly half of the rental cost, and people of all ages, from their mid-20s upwards, use the service

According to Shiho, who’s been doing this job for six months, many of the men who seek out a rental girlfriend are those who’ve never had a girlfriend or even been out with a girl before, or those who are too busy to have a real partner. The men she’s been on dates with are usually mild, retiring types.

For those wanting to try out the rental service, Shiho’s company has some strict rules to keep things professional and above board. Clients are not allowed to contact the rental girlfriend directly, and seeing as this line of work is not classed as fuzoku – a term that refers to the adult-oriented service sector, which covers jobs ranging from bar hostess to topless dancer and erotic masseuse – accepting tips and expensive gifts is prohibited.


As for her message to people who are thinking of renting a girlfriend, Shiho says she’s looking forward to dating them. And although she’s not fluent in English, she”s happy to show foreign tourists around Tokyo, which would make for a very unique sightseeing tour.

Still, Shiho is not the only woman renting out her company in Tokyo, as our Japanese-language reporters have rented out a little sister and dated a girlfriend for a karaoke session before. And with American talk show host Conan O’Brien renting an entire family for a day in Tokyo, more people around the world are finding out about Japan’s unique rental services, which are more than just a gimmick, as they offer a real sense of companionship too.

Source, images: YouTube/Asian Boss

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- We tried Tokyo’s “rent a middle-aged Japanese man” service, and it was awesome!

-- Rent-a-goat service now available in Japan, ready to fulfill all your goat-related needs

-- Japanese man’s job is too busy for strawberry-picking date, super-sweet girlfriend saves the day

© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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LOL! No thank you.

I’m a human being and I enjoy real relationships. For 12,000 you can actually get a lot more bang for ur buck with another gameplan.

But go ahead and rent yourself a smile and a compliment.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

"Renting a girlfriend"... You mean DATING?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I'm not sure how to feel about this. On one hand, people get lonely and need companionship, and those without social skills can learn them by interacting with the opposite sex in an environment that is safe for them both. However, I can't help but feel it is problematic for a man to pay money for a woman's company, as many men would take that as a signal that women are just objects for sale. It's inherently misogynistic, even with the best of intentions.

The only thing I can say is that while I feel for the socially awkward and the lonely, this is not a viable solution. They would be better off spending their money on therapy and make a real comittment to overcoming their social anxiety permanently, instead of engaging in this band-aid, temporary cover.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Its been possible for years to go for a meal with women working in a hostess club. It's called a "dohan". Many regular customers will expect the club to let them take the hostesses out. What is new about this is that it is more targeted at shy people.

If you have a man who is say mid-twenties and shy and a bit nerdy, possibly on the spectrum, it might be a good idea to do this several times just to get an idea of what society thinks typical dating is. This would give him more confidence around other women and could ultimately help him find a much better partner. It is possible to be a very good catch but still be ignorant of or hopeless at the rituals of dating which society still expects to be male led.

(As a grumpy 50 year old, I won't pay 1000 yen for lunch, never mind 12000 yen for two hour's company. The lady in the video seems well-meaning, but comes across as cold and standoffish. If I were hiring someone to spend time with, I'd want much more warmth)

4 ( +4 / -0 )

It's easier and more fun to just call delivery health.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Japan’s unique rental services

How exactly is this normal by any sense? It's actually really sad that inorder to have any other kind of Han interaction, you have to pay through the nose for it. Sad and quite pathetic.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Call it what it is, this is an escort service.

It's only a matter of time before a customer with bad intentions takes advantage and tries to coerce these young women.

It only looks cute because they found a non-threatening, normal-looking guy who wouldn't have trouble finding a girlfriend without "renting" one.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

the price of renting a girlfriend, which, at her company, costs 6,000 yen per hour for a two-hour minimum rental. This means it costs at least 12,000 yen to rent a girlfriend

For the same price, there other options that will actually get you laid.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@ Fred Wallace - How exactly is this normal by any sense?

Fred, the government pays for a social worker to come once a week and chat with my father, take him out shopping, organise his week. He loves it!

This story is no different, it's a social service for the young. I would rather see services like this exists and provide a mean for the young socially challenged than confine them to their lonely mansione.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I now spend about 500,000 yen per month on these kinds compensated dates, etc.

This is a neccessary service for all the non-ikemen guys,

Unless you are above 180cm and have the looks of an actor, even if you get married because of your career or money, your wife will likely not love you anyways. In fact, she’ll probably spend it all on Kabukicho hosts.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

As a foreigner in Japan there are so many practices i still find weird and a waste of your yen and precious time. But it is these services i have seen many people running to, and paying loads of cash for. This lady found an easy avenue to make money from, for that we can't hate her. It seems like a direct response to those Nampa Schools scattered all over Japan now. Guys here in Japan go to schools to learn how to hit on women, and now this lady directly provides the women for you lol. All these situation are dealing with people with low social skills, social laziness, low self esteem etc etc.I do not get it all, because i think there are many ways to meet women without paying any money. Even the most Ugliest guy can find their match anywhere in the world. In Japan the most desirable Man are White man or if you are half. The rest of us who are Indians, Africans, Pakistani, Sri Lanka, Thai, PH, Vtnam, we hustle. Even if we are not that popular in Japan, I do get my fair share of pussy, not as much as i want, but it's more than enough than the senseless rental girlfriend gig. Sometimes i have met cute girls too at these local bars, and are willing to try something new. All i can say is go out and meet people, and stop being lazy.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Renting a girlfriend

You mean technically an escort agency?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Renting a girlfriend

In some cases this is cheaper than having an actual girlfriend.

From the bar scene in Jack Reacher -

Jack: I can't afford you.

Sandy: I'm not a hooker!

Jack: Oh, then I really can't afford you.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Get a dog.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

All the lonely people

Where do they all come from?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Everything in that video was staged...please.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

In case you don't know, The Original Thing's post is from Eleanor Rigby, by the Beatles.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Seems innocent enough, although I suspect there are plenty of people, both male and female, who would go on a date for less money than that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The whole video felt a little like an episode on Terrace House. The participants are acting in order to achieve a desired objective. Alas, without the comedians' commentary to make it worthwhile.

Come to think of it, dating is much the same. With or without the camera (though most would work a selfie in somehow). Even an effort to make friends in Japan can be similar. Often the encounter is little more than a pre-programmed script from English class. It's not helpful that I know very little Japanese--I fully realize my responsibility for that par ot the disconnect.

Add in the cultural divide and the numerous ways to step into minefields on account of the differences in manners. Then mix in the ambiguities and difficulties with translations not being nuanced quite the same way in Japanese or the other language. It's a wonder people connect, much less stay connected for any length of time at all.

Though I never got around to making the call, when I lived in Tokyo to study for several months at a time, I considered using this type of service. I didn't know a soul in the city and to join a gentleman for an evening of jazz or lively conversation would have been lovely sometimes. Fortunately, now and again during my travels I have lucked into free English-speaking tour guides who have provided scintillating conversation on a wide range of subjects beyond the particulars of the historical site being toured. Manna from heaven!

There are all kinds of needs in this world. That there are people who create businesses to meet them, so long as no one is being exploited and the service is within the law, I say bring it on.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Go to an international party, a gokon, join hanami aevents in Yoyogi and other parks, a BBQ during summer. Too shy to interact? A Lawson 12% chuhai cans will let you loose. Meetup and Facebook events all over Tokyo, all year round. Ski/snowboarding trips with other people to Maiko, Madaro or Nozawa ski resorts. Join some bachata, salsa, West Coast swing or tango lessons/events (so many of those in Tokyo). There are soooo many events where you could meet someone of your same opposite sex. Whatever you're into. Unless you live in Noshiro city in Akita, you've got no excuses not to find a date.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@cruisin japan

It's only a matter of time before a customer with bad intentions takes advantage and tries to coerce these young women.

Or the young women tries to blackmail a customer in order to pay off her debts, buy that new Louis Vuitton handbag or a pair of Louboutin heels.

Exploitation goes both ways!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

She is very pretty and very kind too.

I wish they had something like that where I live.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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