Lonely Planet Writer

You can hire fake friends in Japan if you want to look popular in holiday photos

If the idea of appearing on your own in your Japanese holiday snaps doesn’t appeal to you for whatever reason, a website will allow you to hire fake friends to appear in your holiday snaps.

A new Japanese website will supply you with fake friends for your social media pics. Image: Corey Jenkins
A new Japanese website will supply you with fake friends for your social media pics. Image: Corey Jenkins

Japanese company Family Romance has created a quirky new service called Real Appeal. Through its service, customers can hire fake friends from a catalogue to pose with them in photos intended for social media. They can select “their crew” based on specific characteristics, including gender, age and sense of style.

A new Japanese website will supply you with fake friends for your social media pics. Image: Family Romance
A new Japanese website will supply you with fake friends for your social media pics. Image: Family Romance

Maybe you want to travel alone, but don’t want the folks back home to worry that you’re gallivanting around the world by yourself? Perhaps you and your travelling mate were incompatible, and she threw a hissy fit along the way and was last seen heading for the departures lounge? Maybe you don’t want the guys from school to know that you haven’t got a crew around you now?

A new Japanese website will supply you with fake friends for your social media pics. Image: Family Romance
A new Japanese website will supply you with fake friends for your social media pics. Image: Family Romance

Whatever the reason, if you want to look more popular in your Instagram pics, you can hire actors from this substitute service to play the role of your pals. They’ll act as if they’re genuinely happy to be in your presence, and each booking has to be a minimum of two hours long.

A new Japanese website will supply you with fake friends for your social media pics. Image: Family Romance
A new Japanese website will supply you with fake friends for your social media pics. Image: Family Romance

Fake friends cost upwards of 2000 yen to hire, depending on what they will be doing. You may also have to fork out for their travel expenses and drinks, according to the type of scene you’d like to manufacture.

A new Japanese website will supply you with fake friends for your social media pics. Image: Family Romance
A new Japanese website will supply you with fake friends for your social media pics. Image: Family Romance

The website also suggests that you can hire people to act as your parents, look like they attended your wedding or conference or had roles in it, or behave like a new love interest. In the weird and wonderful world of fake friendships, the sky, it appears, is the limit.

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