Horiemon


Just after I graduated from college, I remember this Horiemon AKA Takafumi Horie was a rising star in IT and he was even called the Asian “Bill Gates.” But he was actually released from prison after spending 21 months there. What happened to him? I thought he was an extremely rich, successful business man.

Horiemon is a nickname obviously, and he used to a little chubby, so was given this nickname after Doraemon. Horiemon was a former head of Livedoor Co., a very successful internet company. Despite the controversy, Horiemon is still a star.

His approach to life and business was widely supported by young Japanese generations. We needed someone like him. He was not an old school at all. I guess he has gone a little too far. He tried to take-over the Fuji TV station and Kintetsu Buffaloes baseball team but both attempts were cut down. Horiemon was a college dropout (Tokyo University) and turned his start-up business “on the edge” to a successful internet company “livedoor”.

So what went wrong with him? He was accused of security fraud. Anyways he has made interesting remarks he made for Japanese young generations.
“Even if you cling to this country, it has no future, it’s better for young people if they let go.”

I think that the case of “Horiemon” is a classic example of Japanese saying “The Nail that Sticks up will be Hammered Down”

I think he did cause too much of media sensations. Japanese society is pretty much occupied by the bureaucratic establishment so you really can’t piss them off.

Horiemon appealed to the Supreme Court saying that he was innocent, but his attempt was rejected by the court. He was found guilty in 2007 and was sentenced to 2.5 years for falsely reporting a pre-tax profit of 5 billion yen (About US$61 million) to hide losses at the internet service provider.

Horiemon was a new kind of businessman. He was portrayed as a harbinger of a new, rougher style of business in Japan that is known for consensus and playing by the rules. He spoke his minds..sometimes a little too much in my opinion.

In May 2009, Horie and his aides were ordered to pay 7 billion yen in damgages to shareholders in his former firm over the fraud. Ouch. The Tokyo District Court ruled that 3,340 investors had suffered losses from a plunge in the share price of Livedoor after the fraud scandal surfaced in early 2006.
The individual and corporation investors in the suit had sought 23 billion in damages from him and the firm’s 22 other former executives.

He has reached an out of court agreement with Livedoor, now called LDH Corp, to pay the company 20.1 billion in damages, almost equal to all of his assets. Despite the disgrace, Horie had remained defiant. In a rare media appearance in 2008 after his arrest, he accused Japanese prosecutors of cooking up the fraud scandal to shoot him down.

Horie has since published about 20 books, defending his case and featuring essays, interviews and novels, as well as a magazine that had more than 10,000 subscribers in November. He has about 600,000 followers on Twitter, making him one of Japan’s most popular micro-blogger on the service.

Well, I guess that he has reached a different level of success as a celebrity and I have a strong feeling that he will keep trying to come back.

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