novelties

Middle-Aged Men Available for Rental in Japan

That you can hire handsome young men to pay attention to you in Japan has been established. But did you know you can also pay middle-aged men for their avuncular presence on shopping trips and for life advice? A service called Ossan Rental reportedly has 50-plus customers, mostly female, who pay ¥1000/hour for the company of an ossan, which is a “somewhat rude word for middle-aged dudes,” Kotaku reports. The company employs two ossans: a 65-year-old former pro baseball player and a “45-year-old fashion producer that is misunderstood and jiggy,” according to a Google translation of the latter’s Twitter feed. Japanese blog Nari Nari lists recommended uses for ossans: “Test drive car,” “preview new condominium purchase,” “lunch with love advice.”

I initially assumed Ossan Rental were a respect-for-elders reinvention of Japanese “host clubs,” but when I realized ¥1000/hour equates to $10/hour, I lost the ability to assimilate the information entirely. Is it rude to offer a wise elder less money than the average American babysitter makes, just to chill? Or is paying for someone’s company always a compliment? Am I undervaluing babysitters? Are ossans babysitters for young adult females who need supervision to test-drive cars?

If you live in or near Tokyo and would like to figure this mystery out, click the “Add to Cart” button on Ossan Rental’s website and buy yourself a middle-aged man.

Middle-Aged Men Available for Rental in Japan