NextSharkNextShark.com
Latest Newsletter🍵 Chinese History Month in WARead

Article

You Can Now Rent a Dad in Japan for $275

    Asian America Daily - in under 5 minutes

    Get our collection of Asian America's most essential stories, to your inbox daily, for free!

    Unsure? Check out our Newsletter Archive

    People in Japan can now hire dads thanks to a booming business that understands the country’s “excessive concern for appearances.”

    Heart Project, started by 52-year-old Ryuichi Ichinokawa, now employs more than 100 men, all amateurs and hired online.

    About 30% to 40% of clients — often in their 20s to 40s — hire dads to stand-in as their parents to be introduced to a prospective spouse. Some 20% to 30% ask to fill roles in wedding receptions.

    “People who come to us often have no one else to ask. We are their last resort,” Ichinokawa told Bloomberg. “There are times when I ask myself, ‘What will happen if I don’t help this person?’ Maybe it will just result in some short-lived embarrassment, or perhaps the damage will be deeper, rippling through their life.”

    Heart Project charges 30,000 yen (about $275) for every dad in a parent stand-in role. A dad attending a wedding costs 15,000 yen (about $140), while giving a speech costs 5,000 yen (about $46).

    The business is akin to boyfriend rental services popular in Japan as well as in China, which starts from $150 to $200.

    However, Ichinokawa clarifies that his business attends to purely “fatherly” requests, “We don’t want clients to use our service as an emotional crutch. We won’t take any illegal requests.”

    Before acting for clients himself, Ichinokawa was offering online counseling services for 3,000 yen ($27) per message. One day, he was asked by an acquaintance to appear before a wedding and give a speech. He thought the task went well and eventually added the service to his counseling.

    Japanese pedestrians crossing the street

    Heart Project clearly managed to profit, and Ichinokawa sees the advantage from a cultural perspective.

    “There is something in Japanese culture about people’s excessive concern for appearances and how they are seen by others. And often there is this idea that there is a single common sense and nothing else. Sometimes it’s just plain vanity that leads people to us. It’s not always life or death,” he said.

    While not entirely truthful at work, Inchinokawa is an honest man to his clients, telling one who found himself under pressure after lying about having a girlfriend:

    “That was a stupid thing to do.”

    Support our Journalism with a Contribution

    Many people might not know this, but despite our large and loyal following which we are immensely grateful for, NextShark is still a small bootstrapped startup that runs on no outside funding or loans.

    Everything you see today is built on the backs of warriors who have sacrificed opportunities to help give Asians all over the world a bigger voice.

    However, we still face many trials and tribulations in our industry, from figuring out the most sustainable business model for independent media companies to facing the current COVID-19 pandemic decimating advertising revenues across the board.

    We hope you consider making a contribution so we can continue to provide you with quality content that informs, educates and inspires the Asian community. Even a $1 contribution goes a long way.  Thank you for everyone's support. We love you all and can't appreciate you guys enough.

    Support NextShark

    Mastercard, Visa, Amex, Discover, Paypal