Tokyo Fake Romance

In Japan, some women are turning away from relationships and renting boyfriends instead. "We are not a prostitute, and we sell fantasies with boundaries” - Jin, a rental boyfriend.

In Japan, some women  are turning away from relationships and renting boyfriends instead.  

A 20 years old guy named Jin, he is one of those “boyfriends” to rent and has a character of strong on the outside and sometimes sweet, like he will never leave my side. Well, at least for a couple hours which is how much of this romance I’ve paid for. He’s been a “cast” - that’s how the company he works in called their boys, for 3 years apart from doing a part time job in a restaurant. His parents are divorced times ago and life forced him to struggle alone in this compact concrete forest, Tokyo. He has a dream to study abroad one day, this is how we begin our conversations. I asked him why does he do? He stared at me closely, “because I’m helping those lonely ladies. They are alone with their problems, I’m giving what they longing to have without any emotional attachment which they discouraged”.

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We finished our lunch and walk out into the afternoon, our “romantic relationship" nearly done.

“Jin, I never been to a Love Hotel before” I told him as we passed by the street in Shibuya full of a tacky interiors love hotels. 
“You know that physical intimacy is not allowed in this business..” He added with laugh. Not that I want him to step into any intimacy activities, but I asked him “Why?” , he answered “Because we are not a prostitute, and we sell fantasies with boundaries”.

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At the end of this short romance we part ways, we’ll agree to stay in touch, though probably I won’t, but we’ll mean it in that moment.  When you’re young, relationship is pure but as you get older, you see it can be complicated. Clients seek a company of these rental boyfriend to feel loved and emotional security even for couple hours. These boys have something lacking in the real life boys, sweetness. 

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On my way home, walking alone, I received an unexpected text, “Hey, was nice meeting you, I never thought I would be open to my client but, please consider to meet me again,” - Jin. I have my mind running thinking about the possibility of the host falling in love with the clients, or maybe I’m just in a loop of their game?

[ On going project ]