Elif Batuman, who was recently a Pulitzer finalist for her novel The Idiot, has a stunning story in the New Yorker on Japan’s Rent-a-Family Industry, “People who are short on relatives can hire a husband, a mother, a grandson. The resulting relationships can be more real than you’d expect.”

You think from the title it’s going to be one of those gee-whiz stories or vaguely condescending toward Japanese, but what follows is actually an incredibly poignant and powerful view of society through a lens I had never imagined before. It’s a #longread but I hope you take the time to sit with it this weekend. You may need a swordsman.

2 thoughts on “Rent-A-Family in Japan

  1. What’s behind that view seems very similar to why people enjoy D&D. Playacting works. My wife and I playact daily, borrowing roles and interactions from reality and dramas. I want to throw accents into the mix but that’s harder.

    If what we say defines us, imagine what words we never uttered left us lacking.