Eccentric billionaire will go into space aboard Elon Musk’s rocket

From being a drummer in a punk rock band to dressing as a mushroom and golfing with Justin Rose: The VERY colorful life of Japanese billionaire who scored a ticket to space and intends to take six artists with him

  • Yusaku Maezawa, 42, has been revealed as the first man to take a trip around the moon on board Elon Musk’s BFR craft with takeoff due in 2023
  • Maezawa was the drummer in a punk rock band and got his start selling CDs
  • He founded Japan’s largest online shopping mall and is now worth $2.7billion 
  • Maezawa plans to take between six and eight artists with him on his voyage

Elon Musk has always prided his companies on being anything but boring – so it is fitting that he chose someone like Yusaku Maezawa to take the first trip around the moon in his BFR spacecraft.

Far from a stuffy CEO in a suit, Maezawa is known as an eccentric art collector who first came to the public eye as the drummer in a punk band.

He got his start in business in 1998 by importing CDs and records of his favourite bands which he then sold through his company, Start Today, which he ran while still touring and doing gigs around Japan.

Yusaku Maezawa, 42, will become the first person to travel around the moon in Elon Musk’s BFR spacecraft when it takes off in 2023. The Japanese billionaire once played as the drummer in a punk band called Switch Style

Musk has always prided himself on being ‘anything but boring’ and it seems Maezawa is no exception, once dressing up as a mushroom during a company earnings meeting

Maezawa also enjoyed a day out at the golf course with Justin Rose in January last year

Rose watches as Maezawa plays his shot after the pair met at the Sony Open in Hawaii

Maezawa initially ran the business using mail-order catalogs before taking sales online at the turn of the millennium.

After going digital the business quickly expanded to include clothes orders, which is where Maezawa now makes the majority of his money, the BBC reports.

For a while Maezawa kept managing his company while also touring with his band – named Switch Style – but eventually had to give up the music.

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‘That was around when I was 25 or 26,’ he told the Japan Times.

In 2004 he launched fashion e-retailer Zozotown, which is now Japan’s largest online shopping mall. By the time he was 30 he was a billionaire.

The company’s latest innovation – the Zozosuit – allows the company to make custom-fit clothes for its customers for high-street prices. 

Maezawa has also made his name as an art collector, paying $110million for this untitled  Jean-Michel Basquiat painting in 2016, which was a record for the American artist

Elon Musk announced that Maezawa will be the first person to go around the moon aboard the BFR after he paid ‘a lot of money’ for the privilege

But Maezawa does not plan to ride the rocket alone and wants to take six to eight artists with him in order to document the experience

Zozotown plans to expand into 72 countries using the stretchable suit, which is given free to customers who then use an app to collect precise body measurements.

But aside from business innovation, Maezawa has also become known in recent years for his passion for collecting – particularly art and design pieces.

Last year he paid $110million for an untitled painting of a skull by Jean-Michel Basquiat, setting a record for an American artist.

His Instagram feed is littered with pictures of the work, along with the likes of Picasso and Giacometti.

Like any billionaire worth his salt, Maezawa uses social media to flaunt his wealth – including images of private jets, luxury cars and fine wines. 

Other pictures show the many activities enjoyed by one of Japan’s richest men, including a day of golf with Jordan Spieth and watching the Russian World Cup final in front-row seats.

Maezawa made his fortune selling stylish yet affordable clothes through his online store Zozotown, which is Japan’s largest shopping mall

Zozotown’s latest venture is selling tailored clothes at high-street prices by giving customers these polkadot suits, which take a series of precise body measurements via the company’s app

Maezawa plans to take his company into 72 countries using the new self-measuring system

But he also shows off his eccentric side, including a picture of himself dressed as a mushroom during an earnings meeting and a throwback image of himself behind a drum-kit.

And Maezawa plans to take that eccentric nature into space with him by inviting six to eight artists from different disciplines to ride along with him. 

‘They will be asked to create something after they return to Earth. These masterpieces will inspire the dreamer within all of us,’ he said.

Maezawa will be the first lunar traveler since the last U.S. Apollo mission in 1972 when he blasts off in Musk’s BFR craft – which unofficially stands for Big F***ing Rocket and is due to take off in 2023.

He paid an unspecified amount of money for the privilege, though Musk said it was ‘a lot of money’.

‘Ever since I was a kid, I have loved the Moon,’ Maezawa said at SpaceX headquarters and rocket factory on Monday. ‘This is my lifelong dream.’  

Appearing alongside Musk at a press conference on Monday, Maezawa said it was his ‘lifelong dream’ to orbit the moon

Maezawa will be the first lunar traveler since the last U.S. Apollo mission in 1972 when he takes off aboard Musk’s rocket

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