“Space Now”: Japan tycoon Yusaku Maezawa returns from the ISS with business dreams

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“Space now”, the Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa wanted to tweet for years. He finally really made it, from the International Space Station.

“There is so much potential in the space market,” he said on Friday at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Tokyo, his first press conference in Japan after returning to Earth before Christmas.

Maezawa, who runs a company called Start Today, is preparing to invest in various companies that could grow from ongoing research by NASA, its Japanese equivalent called JAXA, and others. But he wants to recover from his most recent heavenly adventure first: returning to life with gravity is harder than he expected, he said.

Merry Christmas!
It’s been 5 days since I came back but my body still feels very heavy.
I love this experience.
And I love earth and space.

– Yusaku Maezawa (MZ) (@yousuckMZ) December 25, 2021

Maezawa, 46, was shot down with a Russian cosmonaut in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft on December 8 and was the first self-paying tourist to visit the station since 2009.

He returned to Earth after spending 12 days in orbit at the outpost, where he recorded videos of himself joking around in zero gravity, blowing water droplets into bubbles, and poking a golf ball at a flag in the spaceship.

The clips captured by astronaut Yozo Hirano, who accompanied Maezawa, have been posted on YouTube and have attracted millions of views.

He tweeted “uchyu nau” or “space now,” the style the Japanese often use on popular social media to convey what they’re up to, such as “party now” or “eat now”.

“Here’s what I really wanted to say. My first tweet from space, ”says the post that follows someone who shows a photo of him wearing a t-shirt and shorts and floating cross-legged in a meditation pose.

He said he’d like to tweet “moon now” next. He has booked an orbit around the moon on board Tesla boss Elon Musk’s Starship, which is planned for the next few years, possibly as early as next year.

“I don’t know when exactly to tweet this,” he said, not going to land on the moon. “Maybe when we get to the back of the moon.”

Maezawa has more than 11 million Twitter followers and has grown into a flamboyant celebrity known for a revealing leadership style that is rare in Japan’s conformist, laid-back business world.

He ran a CD import business and played in a rock band before starting an online fashion business in 1998. Maezawa is famous for his acquaintance with movie stars and has been both admired and mocked for his lavish purchases, including a Stradivarius violin and artwork by Jean-Michel Basquiat. And Andy Warhol.

In 2019, Maezawa stepped down as CEO of e-commerce company Zozo to pursue space travel and sell its business to Yahoo Japan. Forbes magazine estimates his net worth at $ 1.9 billion (approximately 14.120 billion rupees).

How much Maezawa paid for his trip has been the subject of much speculation and skepticism. The price is reportedly more than $ 80 million (roughly Rs 595 billion). Maezawa again declined to disclose the cost.

But he said that living in space makes him appreciate everyday life more: the wind, the changing seasons, smells and sushi.

Maezawa hopes that one day the world’s leaders could take the same trip. Planet earth is “100 times more beautiful” than any photo he’s ever seen, he said, and maybe they’ll see the importance of working together.

“This is my dream,” he said.

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