Yusaku Maezawa

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Yusaku Maezawa
前澤 友作
Born (1975-11-22) 22 November 1975 (age 45)
Kamagaya, Japan
OccupationBusinessman
Years active1998–present
OrganizationStart Today, Zozotown, ZOZO
Spouse(s)Divorced
Children1[1]
Space career
Space Adventures Space tourist
MissionsSoyuz MS-20
Mission insignia
Soyuz MS-20 Mission Patch.png

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.[2] As of July 2021, he is estimated by Forbes to have a net worth of $1.9 billion.[1]

Early life[edit]

Maezawa began attending Waseda Jitsugyo High School in 1991, where he started an indie band with his classmates called Switch Style [ja], in which he was the drummer.[3][4] The band released their first EP in 1993.[5] 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.[6] 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.[3]

Business[edit]

Man wearing a Zozosuit

In 1998, Maezawa used the basis of the mail-order album business to launch the company Start Today.[7] 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.[8]

Maezawa recently[when?] introduced ZOZO, a custom-fit clothing brand and the ZOZOSUIT, an at-home measurement system, in over 72 countries and territories.[9]

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.[10]

Contemporary Art Foundation[edit]

Maezawa 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."[11] 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 another Untitled (1982) of a skull by the same artist.[12] 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.[13] Maezawa plans to open a contemporary art museum in Chiba, which will house his collection.[11]

Spaceflights[edit]

Circumlunar flight[edit]

On 17 September 2018, it was announced that Maezawa will be the first commercial passenger to do a flyby around the Moon.[14] 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 originally planned to take six to eight artists with him as a part of an art project he has created entitled #dearMoon.[15] However, in March 2021, Maezawa changed the requirement to members of the public.[16]

ISS mission[edit]

On May 13, 2021, Maezawa announced he would be joining Space Adventures on a trip to the International Space Station in December 2021, via the Soyuz. He aims to spend 12 days on the orbital machine to experience a long duration spaceflight, try to do top 100 things demanded by public as well as recording highlights in preparation to the SpaceX lunar flight. [17][18][19]

Most retweeted[edit]

On 5 January 2019, Maezawa successfully secured the most ever retweets for his Twitter message offering one million yen (approx US$9300) each to 1000 randomly selected people who retweeted the message and followed him.[20] More than four million people ended up retweeting Maezawa's tweet and following him.[4]

Personal life[edit]

He is divorced, with one child, and lives in Chiba, Japan.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Forbes profile: Yusaku Maezawa". Forbes.com. Retrieved 16 July 2021.
  2. ^ "Japanese art enthusiast Yusaku Maezawa in $98m art spree". BBC News. 12 May 2016.
  3. ^ a b Adelstein, Mari Yamamoto|Jake (13 May 2016). "Meet Yusaku Maezawa, The Billionaire Entrepreneur Rocking The Art World". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 17 May 2016.
  4. ^ a b Yusaku Maezawa: Japanese billionaire tweets most retweeted tweet, BBC, 7 Jan 2019
  5. ^ "Switch Style". Discogs. Retrieved 17 May 2016.
  6. ^ "「競争嫌い」で年商1000億円【1】 -対談:スタートトゥデイ社長 前澤友作×田原総一朗 新しい日本のチカラ:PRESIDENT Online – プレジデント". PRESIDENT Online – PRESIDENT (in Japanese). Retrieved 18 May 2016.
  7. ^ "Yusaku Maezawa 2016 Contemporary Art Award". artnet News. 24 June 2016. Retrieved 18 September 2018.
  8. ^ Adelstein, Mari Yamamoto|Jake (13 May 2016). "Meet Yusaku Maezawa, The Billionaire Entrepreneur Rocking The Art World". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 18 May 2016.
  9. ^ Nussey, Sam|Jake (2 July 2018). "Japan's Zozo, using measurement-taking bodysuit, expands bespoke service". Reuters. Retrieved 18 May 2016.
  10. ^ "Billionaire to sell Zozo stake to Yahoo Japan". 12 September 2019 – via www.bbc.com.
  11. ^ a b "Contemporary Art Foundation (Public Interest Corporation)". Contemporary Art Foundation. Retrieved 18 May 2016.
  12. ^ Tindera, Michela. "Meet The Japanese E-Commerce Billionaire Who Just Spent $110.5 Million On A Basquiat Painting". Forbes.
  13. ^ Kazakina, Katya (12 May 2016). "Collector Maezawa drops $98 million on art in two days". The Japan Times Online. ISSN 0447-5763. Retrieved 18 May 2016.
  14. ^ "First Private Passenger on Lunar Starship Mission" – via www.youtube.com.
  15. ^ Dear Moon. Accessed: 17 September 2018.
  16. ^ Maezawa wants you: Japan billionaire seeks 'crew' for moon trip, Sam Nussey, BBC, 2021-03-03
  17. ^ Stimac, Valerie. "Japanese Billionaire Yusaku Maezawa Is Heading To The International Space Station In December". Forbes.
  18. ^ "Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa to travel to ISS in December". The Japan Times. 13 May 2021.
  19. ^ "Wanted! 100 Things You Want MZ To Do in Space!". Wanted! 100 Things You Want MZ To Do in Space!. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  20. ^ "Yusaku's Tweet About the 2020 Competition", via Yusaku Maezawa's Twitter