He said people rent him for different reasons, but most are bored or depressed and just want to be listened to
A Japanese man has developed a massive following and thousands of customers online as he makes a living by renting himself out "to do nothing."
People can rent Shoji Morimoto, 37, for 10,000 yen (£70) from Tokyo in Japan - plus travel and meal costs - but he will do nothing but "eat, drink and give a simple answer," reports The Independent.
He initially first offered his services back in June 2018 as he posted a tweet that read: "I offer myself for rent, as a person who does nothing, Is it difficult for you, on your own, to join a shop? Is there a player missing from your team? Do you need anyone for you to hold a place? I can't do anything but simple stuff."
After that Morimoto was once been employed by one man to explain a murder he had committed, while another rented Morimoto to take him from the hospital to revisit the spot where he had attempted suicide.
Morimoto now charges to minimise the number of inquiries and to deter time-wasters, after initially providing his services for free. He claimed that he sees three or four clients a day - and 3,000 since his services were first introduced.
He said people rent him for different reasons, but most are bored or depressed and just want to be listened to.
He has been hired to have lunch, pose for photographs on Instagram, accompany someone filing for divorce, catch butterflies in the park and to listen to health care workers struggling with their work.
Morimoto - who is married and holds a postgraduate degree in physics from Osaka University - told The Mainichi newspaper: "I'm not a friend or an acquaintance. I'm free of the annoying things that go with relationships but I can ease people's feelings of loneliness."
"I personally don't like being cheered on by other people. It bothers me when people simply tell me to keep persevering. When someone is trying to do something I think the best thing to do is to make it easier for them by staying at their side," he added.
In less than three years Morimoto - who used to work in publishing but quit to "do nothing" - has published books about his career choice, inspired a television drama and acquired 270,000 Twitter followers.
One of his clients posted online: "I'm glad I was able to take a walk with someone while keeping a comfortable distance, where we didn't have to talk but could if we wanted to."
While another wrote: "I had been slack about visiting the hospital, but I went because he came with me."