National

Zozo chief Yusaku Maezawa eyes world peace and inspiration with SpaceX moon trip

by Magdalena Osumi

Staff Writer

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, who is scheduled to take a trip to the moon in 2023, said Tuesday that he wants to use the opportunity to make a name for himself around the world and promote his initiatives, while also expressing his expectation that the trip will be great inspiration for his work.

“This is a huge chance to spread my message to the world. I believe it will bring positive impacts to Zozo, too,” said Maezawa, founder and CEO of the major online fashion mall operator Zozo Inc., during a news conference at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan in Tokyo.

In mid-September, Maezawa announced he would embark on an 800,000-kilometer trip around the moon and back aboard SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s BFR spacecraft along with several artists that he plans to invite.

Maezawa, who would become the first private lunar traveler, said he wants to contribute to world peace, a desire that was given greater urgency following the terrorist attacks on 9/11. Thus, he said he was seeking “artists committed to making the world a better place.”

He plans to take six to eight artists representing various mediums with him, and hinted that the candidates’ creations should match his taste. Maezawa did not say when he would choose who will join him.

Maezawa added he was hoping the trip would provide a valuable input to his own work.

“I like new experiences so I want to promote the same among my colleagues, and this is why I decided to go on this adventure, because I believe going to the moon will help me create something better,” he said.

While being aware of the space mission’s dangers, Maezawa said he trusts and respects Musk.

“I thought I could trust him after seeing his relationship with his workers. People believe in him,” Maezawa said.

Regarding Musk’s recent tweets mocking the Securities and Exchange Commission, with whom he recently reached a settlement over allegations of fraud, Maezawa said, “Twitter can be either a good or a bad tool, depending what use you make of it, as you can notice following Musk’s posts.”

Asked whether he would employ the Zozo Suit, the firm’s signature high-tech polka-dot outfit used to measure body size, to make spacewear for his trip, he said that might be under consideration.

“I gave (Zozo’s) suit to Elon Musk and proposed to use our technology to create spacewear,” Maezawa said.

But he wasn’t sure if Musk took the proposal seriously, and quoted the American entrepreneur as having called the idea “crazy” and “good.”

It is unknown how much Maezawa, who is the 18th richest person in the country according to Forbes, paid for the planned trip to space, but he is known as a lavish spender and owns many pricey pieces of art. Maezawa stressed he buys artwork for the value behind it. Last week, Maezawa tweeted about having purchased a 1717 Stradivari violin called Hamma.

“I want to buy the passion poured into those masterpieces,” Maezawa said at the news conference, stressing that craftsmanship, the history behind the work and the passion the artist poured into it raises a piece’s value.”I already own a lot of things and want to share this passion, especially with young people,” he said.

“I want to show them how many blisters these creators have on their hands, how much effort they have put into their work.”