Some think that Roppongi Hills is cursed. A real estate agent owner jokingly comments, “Recently, people say that residents of Roppongi Hills are doomed. You know, it’s the number 666,” – referring to the three 6s in Roppongi 6-chome Roppongi Hills.
The curse has become something of an urban legend. Historically, the building stands on the very ground where some of the 47 ronin in the Ako Vendetta legend committed ritual suicide after avenging their master’s honor.
There is a long list of Roppongi Hills residents, known commonly as the "Hills-zoku" (Hills tribe), who rose to prominence, only to fall from grace in a relatively short space of time. The best known is Takafumi Horie, founder of Internet service provider Livedoor, who was prosecuted on allegations of securities and accounting fraud. The man continues to live in the Hills, having filed an appeal to the Supreme Court. On March 10, authorities turned up to confiscate his assets on behalf of Livedoor shareholders demanding payment of 7.2 billion yen in damages.
Another Hills resident, financier Yoshiaki Murakami of Murakami Fund, was indicted for insider trading charges and similarly has filed an appeal. Currently on probation, his office no longer exists in Roppongi Hills and his whereabouts remain unknown.
Masahiro Origuchi, former chairman of Goodwill, fell into trouble when the organization’s nursing care service subsidiary Comsn was penalized for illegally dispatching contracted workers and receiving nursing care fees through fraudulent applications. No one is sure where the man currently resides, but it is speculated that he lives in New York with a green card status obtained through Goodwill’s U.S. operations.
Most of the apartments in Roppongi Hills are for lease, and the current monthly rent ranges from 1 million to 4 million yen. As such, the turnover of residents is incredibly high. Many who lost their positions, wealth, ownership of companies, etc, have virtually skipped town – but one common factor among those who once reigned in the luxurious building is stock problems.
One exception is the case of actor Manabu Oshio, arrested for the illegal use of drugs and negligence related to the death of a club hostess, which happened in one of the Hills apartments rented by Mika Noguchi, a Japanese female entrepreneur.
All glories must fade, it seems, sooner or later.
Kiyoaki Isogai reminisces about his short-lived glory days in Roppongi Hills where he partied every night. He was later prosecuted for tax evasion and now works at a metal recycling factory in Saitama, which is also his residence. He had inherited the factory from his father but got involved in the foreign exchange business, becoming a billionaire overnight. He joined the Hills community but the life of wealth and extravagance did not even last a year.
He was left with assets of only 2 million yen and an order to pay back taxes amounting to 160 million yen. The man, in his ragged work wear, says that life at the Hills was fun, but he’s had enough and wouldn’t dream of returning there again.
A housewife who lives in Roppongi Hills as a landowner says she misses the easy-going, old-town environment that used to be Roppongi 6-chome. The property management company imposes various regulations on the owners of the residence, preventing them from engaging in harmless hobbies like gardening on the balcony. “I feel like I’m in a completely different world,” says the woman.© Japan Today