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.  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.
|Residence||Chiba Prefecture, Japan|
|Years active||1998 to present|
|Organization||Start Today, Zozotown, ZOZO|
|Net worth||US$3.1 billion (September 2018)|
Maezawa began attending Waseda Jitsugyo High School in 1991, where he started up a band with his classmates called Switch Style, in which he was drummer. The band released their first EP in 1993. 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. 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.
In 1998, Maezawa used the basis of the mail-order album business to launch the company Start Today. 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.
Maezawa recently introduced ZOZO, a custom-fit clothing brand and the ZOZOSUIT, an at-home measurement system, in over 72 countries and territories.
Contemporary Art FoundationEdit
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." 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. 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. Maezawa plans to open a contemporary art museum in Chiba, which will house his collection.
On 17 September 2018, it was announced that Maezawa will be the first commercial passenger to attempt a flyby around the Moon. He will fly onboard a SpaceX Starship (formerly called BFR), which is currently[update] 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.
On 5 January 2019, Maezawa successfully secured the most ever retweets for his Twitter message offering one million yen (approx US$9300) each to 100 randomly selected people who retweeted the message and followed him. More than five million people ended up retweeting Maezawa's tweet and following him.
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- Adelstein, Mari Yamamoto|Jake (13 May 2016). "Meet Yusaku Maezawa, The Billionaire Entrepreneur Rocking The Art World". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 18 May 2016.
- Nussey, Sam|Jake (2 July 2018). "Japan's Zozo, using measurement-taking bodysuit, expands bespoke service". Reuters. Retrieved 18 May 2016.
- "Contemporary Art Foundation (Public Interest Corporation)". Contemporary Art Foundation. Retrieved 18 May 2016.
- Meet The Japanese E-Commerce Billionaire Who Just Spent $110.5 Million On A Basquiat Painting, Forbes, May 19, 2017
- 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.
- "First Private Passenger on Lunar BFR Mission".
- Dear Moon. Accessed: 17 September 2018.