Rental Services Add Variety To Japanese Lifestyle

By Kayo Yamada
The Japan News, Tokyo / Asia News Network

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) The sharing economy is taking hold in Japan where men and women are learning there is a rental market for just about everything….


Konomi Takahashi, a 28-year-old office worker in Nakano Ward, Tokyo, has a very compact wardrobe. A total of 10 items hang on her closet rack, including four work suits, skirts and coats. A transparent drawer placed in the closet contains a few blouses and sweaters. She owns a lot less than most women her age.

Takahashi detests shopping for clothes, which is why last autumn she started using a clothes rental company. For a monthly fee of 5,800 yen ($53), she can rent up to five pieces at a time, as many times as she wants. After wearing the rented clothes, she sends them back in the box they came in. Washing them is not required.

Although she buys her own work clothes, Takahashi’s casual wear is rented. When she wore a new rental one-piece for an opera outing, the workmate she went with was blown away. “You have a completely different air about you,” she was told. “I wouldn’t buy clothes that are in fashion as I’d probably get tired of them pretty quickly. Since I started having fun trying out rental clothes, I’ve had people compliment me on my fresh fashion sense,” Takahashi said, reveling in the unexpected glow of the “rental bonus.”

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