By E K Benj
Always wanted to fly to the moon but don’t quite have the funds? Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa is looking to pay for your trip.
The CEO of fashion retailer Zozo is seeking eight people to fly with him to the moon aboard Elon Musk’s SpaceX flight in 2023 — the first civilian lunar trip.
This week, Maezawa opened applications for the rare opportunity, which he calls “dearMoon.” He said in an announcement video that people “from all kinds of backgrounds” are encouraged to apply. https://2f6c52c10c63b67d3253950e4dbdd275.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html?n=0
The fashion tycoon, 45, was the first private passenger to book a spot on the expedition — for an undisclosed price. Up to 12 people in total are expected to join the mission.
Yusaku Maezawa (前澤 友作, Maezawa Yūsaku, born 22 November 1975) is a Japanese billionaire entrepreneur and art collector. He founded Start Today in 1998 and launched the online fashion retail website Zozotown in 2004, now Japan’s largest. Most recently, Maezawa introduced a custom-fit apparel brand ZOZO and at-home measurement system, the ZOZOSUIT, in 2018.
As of January 2020 he is estimated by Forbes to have a net worth of $2 billion and is the 22nd richest person in Japan
Early life Maezawa began attending Waseda Jitsugyo High School in 1991, where he started up a band with his classmates called Switch Style [ja], in which he was drummer.
The band released their first EP in 1993. After graduating from high school, he decided not to go to college; instead he moved to the US with a girlfriend, where he started collecting CDs and records. When he returned to Japan in 1995, his album collection became the basis for his first company, which sold imported albums and CDs through the mail.
Business Man wearing a ZozosuitIn 1998, Maezawa used the basis of the mail-order album business to launch the company Start Today. The same year, his band signed with the label BMG Japan. By 2000, Start Today had moved to an online platform, had begun selling clothing, and had become a public company. In 2001, Maezawa declared a hiatus on his music career. Start Today opened the retail clothing website Zozotown in 2004, and six years later, Start Today became a publicly traded company, listed on the “Mothers” Index of the Tokyo Stock Exchange. By 2012, Start Today was listed in the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
Maezawa recently introduced ZOZO, a custom-fit clothing brand and the ZOZOSUIT, an at-home measurement system, in over 72 countries and territories. Maezawa resigned from ZoZo in September 2019 after selling a stake of 50.1% in the company to SoftBank for US$3.7 billion (400 billion Yen). He also sold 30% of his personal stake in ZoZo to Yahoo Japan.
Contemporary Art FoundationMaezawa is the founder of the Tokyo-based Contemporary Art Foundation, which he started in 2012 with a goal of “supporting young artists as a pillar of the next generation of contemporary art.” The Contemporary Art Foundation currently hosts collection shows twice a year.
In May 2016, Maezawa attracted significant media attention with a record purchase price at auction of $57.3 million for an Untitled (1982) artwork of a devil by Jean-Michel Basquiat, and broke a record again in May 2017 with a $110.5 million auction for an other (1982) of a skull by the same artist. At the same 2016 auction, Maezawa bought pieces by Bruce Nauman, Alexander Calder, Richard Prince, and Jeff Koons, spending a total of $98 million over two days.
Maezawa plans to open a contemporary art museum in Chiba, which will house his collection. Circumlunar flightMain article: dearMoon projectOn 17 September 2018, it was announced that Maezawa will be the first commercial passenger to do a flyby around the Moon. He will fly onboard a SpaceX Starship, which has been in development since 2017. The flight is slated to take place no earlier than 2023 with a duration of nearly six days. He plans to take six to eight artists with him as a part of an art project he has created entitled #dearMoon. Most retweetedOn 5 January 2020, Maezawa successfully secured the most ever retweets for his Twittermessage offering one million yen (approx US$9300) each to 1000 randomly selected people who retweeted the message and followed him. More than four million people ended up retweeting Maezawa’s tweet and following him.
He is divorced, with one child, and lives in Chiba, Japan.