Yusaku Maezawa

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Yusaku Maezawa
前澤 友作
Born (1975-11-22) 22 November 1975 (age 44)
Years active1998–present
OrganizationStart Today, Zozotown, ZOZO
Net worthUS$2 billion (June 2020)[1]

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.[3] 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.[4]

Early life[edit]

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.[2][5] The band released their first EP in 1993.[6] 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.[7] 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.[2]


Man wearing a Zozosuit

In 1998, Maezawa used the basis of the mail-order album business to launch the company Start Today.[8] 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.[9]

Maezawa recently introduced ZOZO, a custom-fit clothing brand and the ZOZOSUIT, an at-home measurement system, in over 72 countries and territories.[10]

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.[11]

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."[12] 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 work by Jean-Michel Basquiat, and broke a record again in May 2017 with a $110.5 million auction for a piece by the same artist.[13] 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.[14] Maezawa plans to open a contemporary art museum in Chiba, which will house his collection.[12]

Circumlunar flight[edit]

On 17 September 2018, it was announced that Maezawa will be the first commercial passenger to attempt a flyby around the Moon.[15] 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.[16] Also, Mr. Maezawa announced that he is looking for a special woman, a life partner to share the experience with.[17][18]

Most retweeted[edit]

On 5 January 2020, 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 [19]. More than four million people ended up retweeting Maezawa's tweet and following him.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Yusaku Maezawa". Forbes.com. Retrieved 19 May 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Adelstein, Mari Yamamoto|Jake (13 May 2016). "Meet Yusaku Maezawa, The Billionaire Entrepreneur Rocking The Art World". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 17 May 2016.
  3. ^ "Japanese art enthusiast Yusaku Maezawa in $98m art spree". BBC News Online. 12 May 2016.
  4. ^ "Japan's 50 Richest People". Forbes.com. Forbes.
  5. ^ a b Yusaku Maezawa: Japanese billionaire tweets most retweeted tweet, BBC, 7 Jan 2019
  6. ^ "Switch Style". Discogs. Retrieved 17 May 2016.
  7. ^ "「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.
  8. ^ "Yusaku Maezawa 2016 Contemporary Art Award – artnet News". artnet News. 24 June 2016. Retrieved 18 September 2018.
  9. ^ Adelstein, Mari Yamamoto|Jake (13 May 2016). "Meet Yusaku Maezawa, The Billionaire Entrepreneur Rocking The Art World". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 18 May 2016.
  10. ^ Nussey, Sam|Jake (2 July 2018). "Japan's Zozo, using measurement-taking bodysuit, expands bespoke service". Reuters. Retrieved 18 May 2016.
  11. ^ "Billionaire to sell Zozo stake to Yahoo Japan". 12 September 2019 – via www.bbc.com.
  12. ^ a b "Contemporary Art Foundation (Public Interest Corporation)". Contemporary Art Foundation. Retrieved 18 May 2016.
  13. ^ Tindera, Michela. "Meet The Japanese E-Commerce Billionaire Who Just Spent $110.5 Million On A Basquiat Painting". Forbes.
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ "First Private Passenger on Lunar Starship Mission" – via www.youtube.com.
  16. ^ Dear Moon. Accessed: 17 September 2018.
  17. ^ "Yusaku Maezawa's Serious Matchmaking Documentary". Abema TV.
  18. ^ "Japanese Billionaire Seeking 'Partner' to Travel into Space with Him". CEO Today. Retrieved 28 February 2020.
  19. ^ "Yusaku's Tweet About the 2020 Competition", via Yusaku Maezawa's Twitter