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Wedding Traditions: Japanese Firm Rents out Wedding Guests to Japanese Brides and Grooms in Japan

Updated on November 2, 2014
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Fake Friends: Plan Ahead

When you reach the finalization of your wedding guest list you might realize that you don't have as many people invited to your big day as you were thinking, or closer to the main event you discover that a lot of your friends and family can't make it to your special day.

This is where a Japanese company called Office Agents can come in handy. Office Agents, a Tokyo-based company, rents out friends, work colleagues and even relatives to pad out the wedding guest list.

This isn't your only option though... You can take preventative measures to avoid having to call in these 'fake friends' by making sure you are prepared and have invited everyone in a timely matter. Wedding guests are likely to show when they have adequate time to prepare for your wedding.

Allow them enough time to buy plane tickets, reserve hotel rooms, rent a rental car and finding a babysitter for kids. Purchase a wedding organizer or hire a wedding planner today to make sure you are able to have those you really want at your wedding as your wedding guests and not fakes.

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Why Fake Friends?

In Japan, weddings are often attended by as many of the couple's acquaintances as possible - including co-workers - meaning that a bride or groom may feel the need to fill out their side of the aisle a bit.

"A guest might not be able to make it. Or maybe you are concerned about the gap in the number of guests you have compared to your partner," Hiroshi Mizutani of Office Agents told Reuters, explaining why someone may desire the firm's services.

Additionally, many Japanese workers are temps, meaning they don't stay long enough in a job to build up relationships with co-workers. Sometimes it's more of a.... bride and/or grooms who wish to impress their prospective partners with their sheer volume of friends are among those secretly padding the guest list with fakes.

The recession has also boosted the popularity of the service. With unemployment rising and a growing number of Japanese in part time jobs, people rent fake bosses or colleagues. - talk about starting a marriage off on the wrong foot! "Hey honey... this is my boss Mr... uh.. 'What’s your name again sir?' - What? Yes, dear, I do have a job! (Just not as the lawyer you think...)"

The company also provides the hiring of fake companions at events ranging from corporate functions and funerals to private events. - Yes, because we all wish to bring a date to a funeral.

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Fake Friends?

Would you hire 'fake friends' just to make your wedding look nicer?

See results

Who Are Fake Friends?

Stand-in lovers, pretend secretaries and distant... relatives (why would you want to fake having a crabby Aunt Koizumi(see Lovely Complex anime) show up?) are among a colorful cast of popular roles played by the company's army of fakers.

Describing the necessary credentials for his "fakers", Mr. Mizutani said: "They are cheery and clean and look like they have regular jobs." Why not have real friends with real jobs?

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How Much, What Do Fake Friends Do?

Office Agents, which says it receives about 100 requests for fake wedding guests each year, charges the equivalent of $200 per attendee.

For a little extra pay, they will perform a song, dance or speech in the bride and groom's honor.

Bigger is Better?

It would seem that in today’s world where image is everything and big fancy weddings are a must for some, people are willing to go to any lengths to have the perfect wedding day. Is bigger weddings really better?

If you are from another culture, it is likely that you are wondering what the logic behind something like hiring wedding guests is.

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