This article explores the attempted introduction of a lifting robot called “Hug” into an elderly care home in Japan. As demand for institutional elderly care in Japan escalates due to population aging and a move away from familial care, the shortage of professional care staff is also intensifying. Attributing this shortage partly to carers’ endemic back pain, the Japanese government and corporations have poured resources into developing high-tech robotic lifting devices. Yet contrary to their expectation, many Japanese caregivers seem reluctant or even hostile to the idea of using such devices. I use fieldwork data to explore why this is the case, and find that lifting is situated within a practice of tactile, joking care aimed at ensuringanshin(安心; “peace of mind”) for both care staff and residents. Mechanical replacement of this tactile connection was strongly resisted as “disrespectful” by care staff.