Inside the eccentric life of punk rock billionaire Yusaku Maezawa as he soars into space

A Japanese billionaire and former punk rocker became the first civilian to visit the International Space Station after paying around £ 30million for a ticket.

Yusaku Maezawa took off from the Russian Soyuz spacecraft this morning for a 12-day jaunt to the ISS, where he plans to do 100 unusual tricks in zero gravity, including playing golf. He is accompanied by a video producer named Yozo Hirano who will film the adventure for the billionaire’s YouTube channel.

Ahead of his trip, Maezawa shared videos and photos of the unusual training regiment he had to keep up with, including playing badminton every day and spinning around in a chair.

The trip of the ISS will not be Maezawa’s last, either. He is the main funder of the “dearMoon” project, which will transport eight random members of the public to the moon aboard Elon Musk’s SpaceX spacecraft in 2023.

He joins the ranks of other super rich aspiring astronauts who are profiting from the boom in space tourism. But who is Yusaku Maezawa?

From his punk rock origins to his fashion millions on the web, let’s take a look at the story of this eccentric billionaire.



Yusaku Maezawa is one of the first space tourists

Who is Yusaku Maezawa and how old is he?

Richard Branson isn’t the only 1% to travel to space with a background in rock and roll. Maezawa, 46, first made a name for himself in Japan as a guitarist and drummer for hardcore punk band Switch Style.

The group took off in Japan, but Maezawa reportedly grew tired of the constant tours and recordings. He ended up focusing on his hobby of selling rare records and CDs online, which led him to found the online fashion mega-retailer, ZOZOtown.

After resigning in September 2019 and selling 80% of his stake in the company, he is focusing on the art business and its space adventures.



BAIKONUR, KAZAKHSTAN - DECEMBER 8: Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin (not seen), Japanese space tourists Yusaku Maezawa and Yozo Hirano (not seen) are seen before the launch of the Soyuz 2.1a carrier rocket with the spacecraft Soyuz MS-20 at the International Space Station (ISS) in Kazakhstan on December 8, 2021 (Photo by Pavel Pavlov / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Maezawa, ready for space

Maezawa is known in Japan for his philosophy and his unusual look, claiming to break with the country’s “salaryman” culture. In May, he set out his worldview:

“Work hard, make people happy, earn money, buy big dreams, visit amazing places, meet people, experience great things, grow as a person and work again. The cycle repeats. The cycle of dreaming. We can even go to space, ”he wrote on Twitter.

Why is Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa flying to the ISS?

Put simply, Maezawa is obsessed with space and really wants to go.

He is undoubtedly curious about life beyond Earth, having previously tweeted questions such as, “Do you move forward when you fart in space? What happens when you play Pokemon GO in space ?”

Maezawa has also made a name for himself by hosting competitions to take people beyond the stratosphere. Previously, he had launched a contest to find a girlfriend to take to the stars, but had to withdraw after receiving nearly 30,000 entries.



PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 01: David Beckham and Yusaku Maezawa attend the opening of the new Jean-Michel Basquiat and Egon Schiele exhibitions at the Louis Vuitton Foundation at the Louis Vuitton Foundation on October 1, 2018 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images)
Maezawa (right) is a huge art fan and spent millions on a Basquiat painting while hanging out with David Beckham

In addition to this trip to the ISS, Maezawa funded SpaceX ‘dear moon‘mission.

He bought all the seats on SpaceX’s Starship rocket for a week-long trip to the moon and back.

Maezawa opened applications to eight civilian crew members from creative backgrounds to win a seat and received an overwhelming number of applications numbering in the millions. There is no news yet on who was accepted on the flight.



INZAI, JAPAN - OCTOBER 28: Tiger Woods of the United States and ZOZO Founder Yusaku Maezawa chat during the award ceremony after the Zozo Championship Final at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club on October 28 2019 in Inzai, Chiba, Japan.  (Photo by Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)
Maezawa is well known in Japan and even played golf with Tiger Woods.

How can I watch the SpaceX Moon mission live?

The SpaceX Moon mission, in which Maezawa and others will embark for the first flyby of the Moon, is not expected to take place until 2023.

There is no set date as to when it will be completed, as Elon Musk’s space company must complete production on its Starship project, which will be the largest rocket ever made.

Maezawa may have to put his plans on hold for a while, because not everything would go well at SpaceX headquarters.



BAIKONUR, KAZAKHSTAN - DECEMBER 8, 2021: Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin, Japanese space tourists Yusaku Maezawa and Yozo Hirano (from bottom to top) are seen before the launch of the Soyuz 2.1a carrier rocket with the Soyuz MS-20 spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS) of the Baikonur Cosmodrome.  Maxim Blinov / POOL / TASS (Photo by Maxim Blinov  TASS via Getty Images)
Maezawa visits the ISS with video producer Yozo Hirano (top) and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin

Elon Musk called his employees during the Thanksgiving break and asked “everyone on deck” to finish the spaceship’s Raptor engine.

He warned that the company faces a “serious risk of bankruptcy” if it does not change things quickly.

At the moment, that’s not Maezawa’s problem, he already has a space flight to focus on.

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