How To Disappear

Have you ever had a strong urge to start over? I mean go missing and begin life again somewhere else with a new identity? For whatever reason — escape debt, a loveless marriage, maybe domestic violence?

All over the world, people have been known to do that — just disappear and start over someplace else. But in Japan, escaping has almost become an artform. In that country it’s called jouhatsu, the Japanese word for evaporation.

So you would like to “evaporate,” but you don’t know how to go about it? Don’t worry, there are companies in Japan that are more than happy to help. They are called “night moving” services, and can discreetly remove you from whatever life you’re dissatisfied with.

Of course, it helps to live in Japan, where privacy is more fiercely guarded. As a missing person, you can still have access to your ATM, security videos can’t be readily accessed, and police will not get involved unless there is a crime or an accident. The only real recourse for anyone trying to find you is a private investigator.

So if you want to start planning your own evaporation, you might start with “The Companies That Help People Vanish” at

And I promise not to tell.

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