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Horiemon blames others for his predicament December 15, 2006

Posted by fukumimi in crime, Politics.

From the FT (subscription required):

Takafumi Horie, the spiky-haired internet tycoon who once bragged he could buy Sony but is now fighting fraud charges in a Tokyo court, has unleashed a comprehensive attack on the Japanese establishment and what he calls the “jealous elite of old Japan”.

In his first interview with the foreign media since his spectacular downfall in January, the former Livedoor president was defiant, blaming a cabal of powerful bureaucrats and media figures for creating the “mood of resentment” that led to his arrest.

He goes on to say that Japan appears to be an egalitarian society on the surface but the system resembles communism.

I think Horie will find that a “mood of resentment” is insufficient cause for getting arrested. Whilst I would agree that he was targetted by the authorities, he brought that on himself, and it is hard to believe on the reported evidence that he and his buddies did not engage in unfair (and illegal) activities for which the group are rightfully being brought to justice. Rule #1 when you are about to piss off some powerful enemies – Make sure there aren’t any skeletons in your closet.

Any half intelligent individual would know that if they sought to displace the cozy business and political elite, the enemy would be up for a fight. In any case, he seemed fine with cozying up to the elite as he climbed his way to fame and fortune, and his disingenous histrionics come across like the bitching of a jilted ex-lover. To be fair, the way the incumbent elite first fawned over Horie and Livedoor and then dumped him like a cheap whore is no better. The two groups seemed so perfect for eachother.

In any case, looking back at the timeline of events, the alleged criminal activities seem to stem from after the time after Horie had hit the big time. My guess is he thought that he was already part of the cabal, with the cozying up with Koizumi and gushing praise from other members of the LDP, and could get away with a few indiscretions as he felt others in priviledged positions in Japan seem to get away with so often.
He appeared to be someone who actually wanted to be part of the cozy club he now has the cheek to denouce so voiciferously.

Still, he has a point about egaliterianism and communism in Japan. Japan is famous for the self-perception of much of the population as being “middle class”. Self-perception is one thing, reality another. The homogenisation strategies have made class a relatively obscure concept for the common people of Japan. If you look closely though, you’ll see definite class boundaries. They aren’t nearly so apparent as they are in most other nations though, and even many Japanese fail to recognise the glass ceiling projected by the class barriers. The class barrier is easily mistaken for differentiation/discrimination based on educational background, but there are actually two factors at play here, albeit with considerable overlap. (More about the bizzare stories relating to Japanese education in another post)

As far as communism is concerned, when defined as the structure as exemplified by the actual “communist” states of USSR or China – more accurately a hybrid form of state and corporate capitalism, he’s right on the money.

If any group of people had the right mindset to embrace “communism”, it is probably the Japanese. No wonder the US tried so hard to prevent it falling under Soviet influence at the end of WW2.

Indeed, it is ironic that history resulted in Japan belonging nominally to the capitalist/democratic first world, and China to the communist bloc. It would seem that if the roles were reversed, the countries would have had political systems which were actually more suited to their national psyche…. One nation who has about 4 millenia of history as an entrepreneurial trading nation, the other, a nation whose populace seemed content with a rigid caste system and worshipping of a head of state who they considered – until just 60 years ago – as god embodied in a human body. (admittedly, that was just the common folk, the educated elite knew how to exploit the situation and look where that got us)



1. Telyas - December 17, 2006

I read the article in FT on my way to Japan.
The reporter let Horie say what he wanted without really asking him difficult questions.

2. matt - December 20, 2006

As long timers in Japan often say, “Japan = Communism that works”.

3. fukumimi - December 20, 2006


Yes indeedy, Japan _was_ for all intents and purposes, “communism that works”, or at least a very socialist (or statist) form of capitalism.

I believe we are in a transition phase at the moment, and with any phase transition, entropy is elevated – this being manifested in all variety of ways. We may in fact not see the transition take place, at least not soon, if the current political situation does not change though.

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