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In the latest headline-grabbing move by Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, the founder and CEO of major online fashion mall operator Zozo Inc. has announced a plan to dole out ¥1 million to 100 individuals to mark a successful New Year’s sale.

Maezawa, who is scheduled to take a trip to the moon in 2023, wrote on Twitter late Saturday that he would give away a total of ¥100 million in cash out of his own pocket to 100 followers on the social media service who follow his account and retweet his post by the end of Monday.

“The Zozotown New Year’s sale was the fastest ever to reach sales of ¥10 billion,” he wrote, “So as a gesture of my appreciation, I will personally be giving a present of ¥1 million in cash to 100 people for a grand total of ¥100 million.”

The tweet quickly went viral, garnering more than 2.5 million retweets as of late Sunday after smashing the previous Japan retweet record earlier in the day. It also prompted an incredible upsurge in users following Maezawa’s Twitter account, which went from some 500,000 prior to Saturday’s post to some 2.94 million by late Sunday.

In another tweet Sunday, the Zozo chief thanked those who had already participated, saying he believed a “dream,” not cold, hard cash, was the motivating factor behind the attention surrounding his plan.

“I think that what everyone wants is a dream, not the money,” he wrote. “If you have ¥1 million, you want to use it for something like friends, family members, society and animals. This makes me want to cry because the use is aimed at things other than yourselves. Japan, you’re not half bad. You have many dreams. As for the retweets, I understand we hit a new Japan record. … Thank you.”

In mid-September, Maezawa captured global attention after announcing he would embark on an 800,000-km trip around the moon and back aboard the BFR spacecraft developed by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, along with several artists he plans to invite.

The billionaire, who would become the first private lunar traveler, said he hopes to contribute to world peace, a desire that was given greater urgency following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States. Because of this, he said he was seeking “artists committed to making the world a better place.”

First published in The Japan Times on Jan. 6.

Warm up

One-minute chat about billionaires.


Collect words related to “money,” e.g., cash, salary, bank.

New words

1) dole out: to distribute in amounts, e.g., “Mom doled out the candy to the kids.”

2) garner: to gather or collect, e.g., “Police garnered evidence against the criminal.”

3) embark: to start (a course of action), e.g., “I embarked on the task of reading the Bible.”

Guess the headline

Zozo chief Maezawa to d_ _ _ out total of ¥100 m_ _ _ _ _ _ in cash for re_ _ _ _ _ _


1) What did Yusaku Maezawa announce on Twitter?

2) Why is he doing this?

Let’s discuss the article

1) What would you do with ¥1 million?

2) What do you think of Maezawa’s campaign?

3) What do people need in order to have a dream?





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