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Lonely Japanese looking to live a life full of loving friends can now at least better fantasize about the idea with the aid of a service that allows buyers to rent out “fake friends” who will pose for photos, looking likely to exacerbate the main problem rather than fix it.

The service targets mostly social media users and has recently been seeing to a steady increase in requests, possibly due to its introduction on mainstream Japanese TV:

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One individual who runs such a service stated “an increasing number of people don’t want their parents or friends to think they have few friends”, whilst another claimed that he recently booked 20 “friends” to attend a girls-only party and that he is constantly receiving about 20-30 requests a month.

Buyers can select the age and gender of these friends as well as what they wear and can make them attend anything from a wedding to a seminar, with one of these services charging about $74 for one customized friend for two hours.

The “fake it ’till you make it” approach to engineering fake popularity for shops via hired queues has long been popular in Japan, but whether the same tactic works for private gatherings is not clear – and certainly it seems unlikely to do anything for the self-esteem of the principal…


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