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