TOKYO -- In the old days, Japanese celebrities looking to make some extra cash had a couple of typical options: go into real estate, or perhaps open a restaurant. Add startup founder to the list of side occupations.
Three household names have each launched their own information technology-related startups recently, and they appear to be part of a nascent trend in the entertainment industry. One catalyst is the ample supply of funding in Japan these days. Some may also be motivated by a sense that traditional showbiz is in decline -- a worry backed up by bits of data.