I guess it was a mistake to prosecute Horiemon.
-2ch, as quoted on AltJapan.
It’s an interesting point.
From a civil rights standpoint, the mistake was not prosecuting Horiemon, but rather, going about it in a heavy-handed fashion with police raids and so forth. You’d think he was a drug dealer the way they came down on him.
Of course, it’s probably a bit simplistic to blame that one incident alone for a lack of up-and-coming tech entrepreneurs. Horiemon’s prosecution was connected to his business decisions, but his persecution was symptomatic of a more pervasive attitude amongst entrenched power-brokers in Japan.
Perhaps the reaction was more against his noveau riche status, his desire to shake up things, and his taking advantage of less developed economic laws to perform economic maneuvers that would have been illegal in the US. Even so, the needlessly personal touch on things must have been interpreted by some would-be entrepreneurs as a signal that shaking up the old hierarchy yields trouble.
In that sense, the fall of Horiemon provided a quintessentially Japanese lesson: don’t cause a ruckus, or if you must, don’t involve the old, rich families.