This is “Boyfriend Rental” (レンタル彼氏 or Rentaru Kareshi). Similar companion services have long existed in Japan, such as host bars. However, boyfriend rental was introduced this week on Hakunetsu Live Vivid, a nationwide morning show.
According to the manager of Rental Kareshi Premium, the service offers the experience of really having a boyfriend. (Note: This isn’t the only rent-a-boyfriend service in Japan. Of course it isn’t!)
Back in 2013, Kotaku introduced a “rent-an-old-man” service, which was about ten bucks an hour. Renting these boyfriends is far more expensive. For example, this particular service has different grades. There’s “Fresh” for 5,000 yen ($40.22) an hour, “Regular” for 6,000 yen ($48.26) an hour, and “Special” for 7,000 yen ($56.31) an hour.
In Japanese the word “ossan” (おっさん) is somewhat of a rude word for middle aged-dudes. How …
Who uses rent-a-boyfriend services?
According to Hakunetsu Live Vivid, forty percent of those who rent boyfriends are housewives. What’s more, the number of repeat customers is fifty percent. While this was featured on national Japanese television, don’t think every single woman in the country is renting a boyfriend. That would be a mischaracterization.
Another thing to be aware of is that while some (most?) people with boyfriends like to have sex with said boyfriends, here, that’s not on the menu. This isn’t prostitution. You apparently cannot even kiss your rental boyfriend. Handholding and hugging are okay. This is more about companionship, and the feeling of excitement you get with someone. That’s the appeal.