Yusaku Maezawa

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Yusaku Maezawa
Native name 前澤 友作
Born (1975-11-22) 22 November 1975 (age 42)
Kamagaya, Chiba Prefecture, Japan
Residence Chiba Prefecture, Japan[1]
Nationality Japanese
Occupation Businessperson
Years active 1998 to present
Organization Start Today, Zozotown, ZOZO
Net worth US$3.1 billion (September 2018)[1]
Spouse(s) Divorced
Children 3[2]

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, now Japan's largest, in 2004. Most recently, Maezawa introduced a custom-fit apparel brand ZOZO and at-home measurement system, the ZOZOSUIT, in 2018. [3] As of May 2017 he is estimated by Forbes to have a net worth of $3.6 billion and is the 14th 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.[2] 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.[2]

Business[edit]

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

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."[10] 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.[11] 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.[12] Maezawa plans to open a contemporary art museum in Chiba, which will house his collection.[10]

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.[13] He will fly onboard a SpaceX BFR rocket, which is currently in development. The flight is slated to take place no earlier than 2023 with a duration of nearly six days. He will take six to eight artists with him as a part of an art project he has created called #dearMoon.[14]

References[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. ^ "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". 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. ^ a b "Contemporary Art Foundation (Public Interest Corporation)". Contemporary Art Foundation. Retrieved 18 May 2016.
  11. ^ Meet The Japanese E-Commerce Billionaire Who Just Spent $110.5 Million On A Basquiat Painting, Forbes, May 19, 2017
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ "First Private Passenger on Lunar BFR Mission".
  14. ^ Dear Moon. Accessed: 17 September 2018.