Horie resumes blog after long cybersilence

by Reiji Yoshida

Former Internet venture star Takafumi Horie is staging a comeback, but quietly, and with far less attention than he sought during his high-tech heyday a few years ago.

The vehicle for his comeback seems to be his blog, which he finally started updating earlier this month — the first time since his arrest in 2006.

Horie, founder of Livedoor Co. and the once high-flying star of Japan’s dot-com investment boom, withdrew from cyberspace two years ago when prosecutors arrested him on suspicion of securities fraud. Since then, he has endeavored to stay out of the limelight, even skipping his high court appeals trial sessions, which ended with his 2 1/2-year prison term being upheld for falsifying Livedoor’s financial statements.

Horie is taking his case to the Supreme Court and remains free on ¥600 million bail. In the meantime, he seems to be planning his comeback, judging from his resurrected blog.

On Aug. 8, Horie started writing on an Ameba blog site run by CyberAgent, which is run by close friend and President Susumu Fujita.

“I will write what I think straightforwardly,” reads the subtitle of his blog “Roppongi De Hataraite-ita Moto Shacho-no Ameburo” (“Ameba Blog by a Former President Who Worked in Roppongi”). There are 13 entries so far.

Horie, known by his nickname Horiemon, was the star of a new age, with an audacious attitude that drew enthusiastic support from young people who wanted to break with Japan’s traditional values of seniority and humility.

But Horie fell from grace hard when was arrested on Jan. 23 by the Tokyo District Prosecutor’s Office, the nation’s most powerful investigative authority. Five days earlier they carried out a surprise raid on his firm, sending the Tokyo Stock Exchange into a nosedive.

Still, many of the messages posted on his blog site since then have encouraged Horie to make a comeback.

“Welcome back! I believe that you will go to the top again. I will be rooting for you!” one of the anonymous messages read.

However, what Horie is thinking about these messages or the financial crimes he was convicted of is still not clear from his missives.

From Aug. 7 to Friday, Horie has written about the Beijing Olympics, the weather, what he ate, how he feels about the media bashing sumo grand champion Asashoryu and other miscellaneous topics.

“The yokozuna has been bashed again. . . . It’s a normal matter, and it’s probably because it will help newspapers sell well,” wrote Horie, who was effectively hanged by the media and anonymous leaks after his arrest. “But it’s not very comfortable to see.”

So far, it seems unlikely that Horie will come out to engage the real world and brashly speak his mind like he used to do during his glory days.

“If the media would like an interview with me, please use what is called the Petit Mail function of this blog,” Horie wrote Sunday. “I will decide if I will respond or not with my arbitrary and biased view, though.”