Yuichi: I played a father for a 12-year-old with a single mother. The girl was bullied because she didn’t have a dad, so the mother rented me. I’ve acted as the girl’s father ever since. I am the only real father that she knows.

Morin: And this is ongoing?

Yuichi: Yes, I’ve been seeing her for eight years. She just graduated high school.

Morin: Does she understand that you’re not her real father?

Yuichi: No, the mother hasn’t told her.

Morin: How do you think she would feel if she discovered the truth?

Yuichi: I think she would be shocked. If the client never reveals the truth, I must continue the role indefinitely. If the daughter gets married, I have to act as a father in that wedding, and then I have to be the grandfather. So, I always ask every client, “Are you prepared to sustain this lie?” It’s the most significant problem our company has.

Morin: So, you could be involved with her for the rest of your life?

Yuichi: It’s risky that she might discover the truth someday. In this company, one person can only have five families at a time. That’s the rule. It’s not only about secrecy. The client always asks for the ideal husband, the ideal father. That’s a very difficult role to maintain.

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Morin: Does she love you?

Yuichi: She does. It’s easy to feel her love. She talks about her relationship with her mother, she shares sensitive feelings, she opens up to me.

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Yuichi: I dream about my client—when she cries because I have to leave. It’s a very emotional situation.

Morin: How is the dream different from reality?

Yuichi: Sometimes, in the dream, I tell her the truth.

Morin: What do you say?

Yuichi: I say, “I’m very sorry. I’m a member of the Family Romance corporation. I’m not your true father.” Right before she can respond—just as she opens her mouth to speak, I wake up. I am terrified of the answer, so I just wake up.

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Yuichi: We have a huge variation of employees and the dedication to create an experience that surpasses reality. That’s why our motto is “more than real.” We had a case recently where a dying man wanted to see his grandchild, but it would not have been born in time. His daughter was able to rent an infant for the day.

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Holy crap, guys. Just... holy crap...