Renting Girlfriends and Middle Aged Men!? The Expansive World of Japan’s Rental Services

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Renting Girlfriends and Middle Aged Men!? The Expansive World of Japan’s Rental Services

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While rental businesses have started to close their doors in many countries like America, rental businesses continue to thrive in Japan. Not only are there rental services for CDs, DVDs, and games, but also rental brand goods, boyfriends, families, and middle-aged men?

Rent media:

Renting DVD’s, CDs, books and games has been extremely popular in Japan. One of the stores that dominates this industry is TSUTAYA, which has stores all over Japan and rents out and sells a vast array of items. Generally, renting is quite cheap with older DVD’s or CD’s costing maybe just about a 100 yen or a dollar, and newer ones being a bit more expensive. If you want to just watch a film once, rental is a great way to go.

TSUTAYA also rents out hard copies of manga starting at the cost of about 100 yen or a dollar. There are online services as well though, that rent out manga in digital form. You can read a sample of the manga online to see if you’d want to read more. If you like it, you can rent or spend more money and buy the manga permanently online. Although there are many manga rental services, if it’s an older manga that you’re searching for, you can probably also find a copy for cheap at a used book store.


Rent fashion:

Recently, there have been a rapid increase in rental services for fashion. Many of the sites or apps that offer these services, run on a monthly payment system. For example, the company airCloset allows you to enter your fashion preferences into the site and will deliver 3 pieces of clothing for you every month. If you want to keep the clothing that was chosen for you for longer, you can, as long as you pay the monthly cost. This service is on the pricey side costing about 10000 yen/month or about 100 dollars. But, when you return the clothing, you don’t even have to wash it! airCloset will take care of that for you.

Besides day-to-day clothing, there are also companies that offer the rental of brand items. Some sites allow you to rent brand items for a certain amount of time only while other sites use the monthly payment system. For example, the company Laxus, which specializes in brand bags, offers a service in which you can rent one brand bag at a time for the cost of about 7000 yen or 70 dollars/month. As long as you pay the monthly payment you can keep the bag for as long as you want until you want to try another bag.



Rent people:

Possibly one of the strangest trends in the rental businesses of Japan is renting people. And you can rent almost anybody that you can think of! There are rental friends, rental boyfriends, rental girlfriends, rental hosts and even rental middle-aged men!


The rental boyfriend/girlfriend is one of the more expensive people-renting services. The profiles of women and men along with pictures are available on sites that offer these services. If you want to rent a boyfriend or girlfriend, you can choose from the people available on the site and go on a date with them. During the date you will have to pay them hourly, plus their transportation fees and also cover the costs of anything you do during the date. The starting hourly price for many of these rental boyfriends/girlfriends is about 50 dollars, so it can get quite expensive!

On the other hand, a site that specializes in middle aged men rental is about 10 dollars an hour. On this site, there are profiles of the men, or ‘ossan’ with information about them and what they can do if you rent them. For those that aren’t married you can go on dates, and most of them offer to be listeners of your worries. You can discuss through e-mail directly with the men for what you would like to do together.

In Japan, you can also rent families or friends. You might think, when might you need to rent family members or friends? Looking at the past rentals on the sites that offer these services, there are numerous situations in which it could help to rent a family member or friend. For example, if parents are busy at work and want someone to look after their child, they might rent a ‘mother’. Or, if you feel like you’ll give up halfway during a jog, you can rent a friend to cheer you on by your side. Other examples include renting a friend to go to a concert with, renting a parent to do a formal apology at work with you, etc.

Boyfriend rental:

Girlfriend rental:

Middle-aged men rental:

Family/friend rental:

Rental businesses in Japan seem like they won’t be going anywhere soon, as many of the rental services offer cheap, easy, and efficient alternatives. Especially in Tokyo, where you might not have a lot of apartment space to keep things in, having rental media and fashion make it easy to have new things, without cluttering your space.

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Born in US, currently a student in Japan. Loves Japanese culture, both traditional and contemporary.

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