|Image source: TomoNews Japan|
This new service allows you to hire attractive people to pose as your friends in pictures so that you can later share those pictures on social media and thus make people think that you're a riajū. Riajuū is a slang term used to refer to people with satisfying and exciting offline/physical world lives.
The service costs 8,000 yen (roughly US$70) for two hours, per person. Customers are able to select the sex, approximate age and general appearance/clothing (model level good looks, handsome, cute, fashionable, cool, etc.) of the person they are hiring.They are also able to take as many pictures as they want during the two hours.
The company's website states that their staff can act out just about any scenario you need them to. They offer suggestions like, having their staff throw a birthday party for you so you can take pictures of it or hiring multiple attractive girls or guys so that you can take pictures of yourself surrounded by them. The site mentions that you can then use these pictures to do things like "make people think that your daily life is bright and fun," "make somebody you like think you're outgoing," "make people think you're on a trip with friends," "get back at your ex-girlfriend or boyfriend" and get tons of likes on Facebook and other social media platforms.
The website also has customer testimonials, such as the one below, which is attributed to a man (age unknown) that hired 10 people to throw him a birthday party.
I hired 10 people to pose as my friends and I had them throw a birthday party for me at a well-known Tokyo hotel. After drinking a bit at the bar that had a beautiful night view of the city, I returned to the room. I was able to take a lot of pictures that I could use to show off later, such as pictures of us decorating the room, drinking, having fun and also some of the people I hired bringing out a big surprise birthday cake. lol Recently, I've been busy so this is the first time in a long time that I was able to have fun. And I was able to upload great pictures to Facebook and Twitter.
In addition to this latest service Family Romance also allows you to hire people to pose as just about anything you can think of, including wedding guests, parents, siblings, spouses, girlfriends/boyfriends, restaurant customers (in order to make your restaurant look more popular), and much more. They also let you hire people to do things like, pack your bags before you go on a trip, clean your room, go to karaoke with you, and visit somebody's grave in your stead.
Not surprisingly, many people in Japan have taken to Twitter to express their opinions about this peculiar service. Translations of some of these tweets can be found below.
I'd like to try out this service once.
This is a service that will leave you with a frightful sense of emptiness after you use it.
It seems like this would be fun for the people that get hired.
I'd like to do this as a part-time job.
I think that people who wish they could have fulfilling social lives wouldn't even have anybody to show off to in the first place.
If yoi're at the level where you have to hire people to make it look like you have a fulfilling offline life then I don't think these people would have friends to show off to...
Although it has not been revealed how many people have used this service, it is safe to say that in terms of free publicity it has been an undeniable success.
If you would like to see what making use of this service could look like, then check out the TomoNews Japan CG dramatization below. The video also shows CG recreations of other stories starting at the 1 minute mark.
Sources: Family Romance, R25, TomoNews Japan