"Quite depressing. Loved it."

Last year, I spent about 5 months living and working from Japan. Of all the countries I've been to, Japan was by far the most unique. There are things happening in Japan that you won't find anywhere else in the world.

One of those things is that in Japan, you can rent a family.

Before you think "that's weird" or "those Japanese are crazy!", consider that avoiding conflict is a big part of Japanese culture. That is, people often lie to avoid creating tension.

For example, let's say there's a young man in Japan right now, in his mid 20s, who hasn't married yet. Perhaps he's actually gay, but doesn't want to tell his parents. For this man to avoid conflict, he tells his parents he found a wife.

What if his parents want to meet his wife?

He calls 1-800-RNT-FMLY (not a real number, but you get the idea) and pays for a woman actor to play the role of his wife during a "family" dinner.

Conflict avoided and everyone's happy.

The topic of renting a family came up recently with a friend of mine, so I decided to see if there was a documentary about it. Turns out, there is. I just finished watching it and if you're looking for something interesting to watch, I recommend checking it out.

Here’s the trailer for Rent a Family Inc.:

The best way to sum it up has already been done in a comment that says:

"Quite depressing. Loved it."

I agree.

For a funnier take on Japanese family rentals, here's one from YouTube with Conan O'Brien:

While these documentaries aren’t directly related to copywriting, understanding how people different from you think, feel, and act (i.e., EMPATHY!) — is.

Raymond Duke