Passing the buck

TOKYO • Not all daikou jobs are a dog-walk in the park. Some tasks require more skills than others.

Those working for a daikou apology service, for example, need a certain degree of training and experience to be tactful enough for the task so as not to aggravate the situation.

Housewife Sayaka Kobayashi, in her 40s, works part-time for such a service. She once acted as the wife of a man who had committed adultery with a married woman. The husband found out, and wanted the man to take along his own wife and apologise face to face.

After she said she was sorry for not having noticed her "husband's" infidelity because of her home and childcare duties, the wronged husband took pity on her and did not demand monetary compensation.

Equally, for divorce notice delivery services, some familiarity is needed with the process of acting as a witness to the delivery of notice.

"Demand for our services has been rising steadily," said a spokesman for Rikontodoke, which literally means divorce notice delivery. He added: "People in a divorce prefer to minimise contact with the spouse."


Other offbeat daikou jobs are more pleasant, such as praying at a temple or getting an amulet on someone's behalf.

"In the Edo era, dogs were trained to make pilgrimages on their master's behalf, so the concept of outsourcing temple or shrine visits isn't that new to the Japanese," said Ms Yoshimi Kanda, who runs temple and shrine visitation service Omairidaiko.

"It is accepted as legitimate if the believer isn't able to make the trip in person, either for health reasons or because of a lack of time," she said.

Tor Ching Li

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 23, 2017, with the headline 'Passing the buck'. Subscribe