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]
Children3 [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 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

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 ZOZOSUIT (30684332477).jpg
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

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 (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. [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

On 17 September 2018, it was announced that Maezawa will be the first commercial passenger to do 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]

Most retweeted

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. [17] More than four million people ended up retweeting Maezawa's tweet and following him. [5]

See also

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  1. "Yusaku Maezawa". Forbes.com. Retrieved 19 May 2017.
  2. 1 2 3 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. 12 May 2016.
  4. "Japan's 50 Richest People". Forbes.
  5. 1 2 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. 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. 1 2 "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's Tweet About the 2020 Competition", via Yusaku Maezawa's Twitter