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The weirdest startup project in Japan?

The weirdest startup project in Japan?
The other day, I introduced “The Restaurant of Order Mistakes” as this year’s most impressive entrepreneurial project. Then, I started to wonder what would be the strangest startup in Japan.

Well, any venture project that has survived isn’t strange because I admire people who are capable of coming up new ideas and taking action.

However, there is a startup that I consider to be “the weirdest startup project (in a good sense)” or “the funniest venture project (in a good sense)”.

It’s called “Ossan Rental“, meaning “Mid-aged Man Rental”.

Ossan

Ossan is a disrespectful word describing a mid-aged man in Japanese.

People’s typical image of Ossan is something like they’re

・bossy
・drunk and tired all the time
・fat
・uncool
・stubborn
・kinky
・selfish
・narrow-minded
・smell not good
・tend to belabor things not really important

and other negative things (… oh my goodness).

In short, people don’t think much of middle-aged man in Japan.

As a matter of fact, I also use this word especially when seeing a man behaving badly.

However, we might have to understand (!?) why some people became like that.

Ossan (Oops, Japanese men) spend a couple of hours commuting, work overtime and have a variety of tasks while being under enormous pressure.

 

As a result of managing this stressful life style, they may be extremely tired or just desperate. (See the photo above)

But why do they tolerate it? Because they need to support their families or just they have a strong sense of responsibility.

Nevertheless, they’re not as respected as they should’ve been.

*If a man is well-off, cool, generous, sexy, understanding, open-minded and adventurous, we regard him as a gentle man for sure, but in reality not everybody behaves gently.

Ossan’s Saviour!?

In 2013, a Japanese fashion producer Takanobu Nishimoto created a platform (Ossan Rental) where people can have opportunities to get Ossan’s help in a move aimed at raising the social status of Ossan.

In an interview, he explained the reason for starting up this business.

“The word “Ossan” itself is funny but Ossan have been looked down on. So, I just wanted to change people’s stereotype of Ossan.”

Ever since this service was launched, they’ve continued getting both public and media attention. Now, the Ossan Rental business became busier than his main business, as a lot of people have tried the service and appreciated Ossan’s heart-warming support.

According to the interview, he mentioned that the business receives 30 ~ 50 requests a day. Popular Ossan are even handling 50 ~ 60 different work a month on their own.

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Ossan Rental

Ossan Rental literally allows you to rent a Japanese mid-aged man. You can find various Ossan from retired men to comedians, well-educated and skillful men.

Their common ground is that every Ossan considers (misunderstands) himself to be very cool (!?), which is also important because the CEO Nishimoto wants all of Ossan to help their customers confidently. Then, people can realize that Ossan are actually very dependable.

The fee is just ¥1,000/hour and you can ask any kind of help except for some inappropriate jobs like crimes and sexual activities.

Examples

The contents of requests also varies depending on the customer. For example …

・Talking to a customer about his/her matter

・Drinking together

・Spending time with a senior customer

・Taking a walk together

・Visiting a customer in the hospital

…etc

The reason why so many customers have used Ossan for discussing their personal matters is that talking to somebody who is not your acquaintance is more comfortable or safer than doing so with your friends, Nishimoto explains (definitely!).

 

Revenue Stream

In addition, Nishimoto clarified that Ossan Rental is not a profitable business since the revenue stream comes from only Ossan’s registration fees, which is ¥10,000/month.

¥10,000/month (Ossan’s registration fees) → Ossan Rental

¥1,000/ hour (Customers’ fees) → Ossan

(Photo: Ossan who is good at singing) 

Right now, there are 44 Ossan on the platform. Therefore, the revenue can be expected to be ¥440,000/ month.

The reason why Nishimoto requires Ossan to pay such a expensive fee every month is not only for the revenue, but to avoid hiring Ossan having ulterior motives such as the aim of coming across women.

Because of this, they’ve been able to prevent big problems between Ossan and customers.

So, you’re interested in renting Ossan now, right? So am I, but for working.

Ossan Rental allows us to register if you’re over 33 years old.

In other words, you might start being called “Ossan”.

Source: http://nlab.itmedia.co.jp/nl/articles/1703/24/news134.html

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