Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Saturday, November 11, 2017

Money may not be able to buy love, but here in Japan, it can certainly buy the appearance of love -- and appearance, as the dapper Ishii Yuichi insists, is everything. As a man whose business involves becoming other people, Yuichi would know. The handsome and charming 36-year-old is on call to be your best friend, your husband, your father, or even a mourner at your funeral. His 8-year-old company, Family Romance, provides professional actors to fill any role in the personal lives of clients. With a burgeoning staff of 800 or so actors, ranging from infants to the elderly, the organization prides itself on being able to provide a surrogate for almost any conceivable situation.


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Yuichi believes that Family Romance helps people cope with unbearable absences or perceived deficiencies in their lives. In an increasingly isolated and entitled society, the CEO predicts the exponential growth of his business and others like it, as à la carte human interaction becomes the new norm.

I sat down recently with Yuichi in a café on the outskirts of Tokyo, to discuss his business and what it means to be, in the words of his company motto, "more than real."


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This is the best article ever to appear in the Atlantic. Ever. I got through about half of it before my brain ejected from the back of my skull and tried to use escape and evasion tactics to avoid recapture.

See how far you can get. Also, what are your favorite quotes?

#1 | Posted by HeliumRat at 2017-11-11 12:25 AM | Reply

Yuichi: I played a father for a 12-year-old with a single mother. The girl was bullied because she didn't have a dad, so the mother rented me. I've acted as the girl's father ever since. I am the only real father that she knows. "I always ask every client, ‘Are you prepared to sustain this lie?'"
Morin: And this is ongoing?
Yuichi: Yes, I've been seeing her for eight years. She just graduated high school.
Morin: Does she understand that you're not her real father?
Yuichi: No, the mother hasn't told her.

WTF? I sense an IIED lawsuit in this fine fellow's future. Also, suddenly Dick's dystopian future doesn't seem so bad anymore.

#2 | Posted by censored at 2017-11-11 10:18 PM | Reply

"Yuichi: Sometimes, in the dream, I tell her the truth."

#3 | Posted by ichiro at 2017-11-11 11:28 PM | Reply

That little girl is gonna need so much therapy when the truth comes out. And it always does.

#4 | Posted by Bubba10 at 2017-11-12 09:19 AM | Reply


"I believe the term ‘real' is misguided."
Morin: What makes your company different from competitors?

Yuichi: We have a huge variation of employees and the dedication to create an experience that surpasses reality. That's why our motto is "more than real." We had a case recently where a dying man wanted to see his grandchild, but it would not have been born in time. His daughter was able to rent an infant for the day.

Morin: What does it mean to be "more than real"?

Yuichi: There are less concerns. There is less misunderstanding and conflict. Our clients can expect better results.

Morin: You're offering a more perfect form of reality?

Yuichi: More ideal. More clean.

Morin: Are there any requests that you've rejected?

Yuichi: Unless it's a crime, we will accept any request. Some people with anorexia, for example, want to see people who are willing to eat in front of them. They just find relief in watching a person who eats a lot. We will even do that.

Look Snoofy you can rent a Dad!

#5 | Posted by PinkyanTheBrain at 2017-11-12 10:48 AM | Reply | Funny: 1

"Yuichi: I played a father for a 12-year-old with a single mother."

I did that.

Only once though and the kid knew I was just her mom's boyfriend.

#6 | Posted by Tor at 2017-11-12 11:26 AM | Reply

So he gets paid to have some girl call him daddy. There is much we can learn from other cultures.

#7 | Posted by visitor_ at 2017-11-12 12:25 PM | Reply

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