Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has made a name for himself as a rock musician, an online fashion mogul and, now, Earth’s first moon tourist.
SpaceX announced Monday night that Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, founder of the online fashion mall Zozotown, will be the first paying passenger on its BFR spacecraft on a trip around the Moon.
The trip is announced to launch in 2023, though CEO Elon Musk admitted that there were a lot of uncertainties around that date.
Intriguingly, Maezawa stated that he didn’t just buy one seat on the trip. He bought an entire spaceship, and he intends to people it with six to eight artists from different countries representing different styles of art.
The goal of Maezawa’s project is for the artists to be inspired by the journey and create art about it when they go back to Earth.
“I hope that this project will inspire the dreamer within each of us,” Maezawa wrote on the website for the project, #DearMoon.
That’s much to Maezawa’s delight. “I love art and I look forward to seeing what different artists working together bring to life,” he said.
The trip, according to SpaceX, will take four or five days, and the spacecraft will be 125 miles from the moon at its closest point.
At an annual results presentation last year, Start Today CFO Koji Yanagisawa delivered the earnings report dressed as a mushroom, saying he was carrying on a tradition started by Maezawa in 2010.
Last year, Maezawa dropped $110.5 million on a Jean-Michel Basquiat painting, the highest ever price paid at auction for a work by an American artist.
In an interview with the Observer, Maezawa said that while he’d always had a deep interest in art and fashion, he didn’t start collecting until about 10 years ago.
He’s building a museum in his hometown of Chiba and has been scooping up art at a feverish pace.
He had set the previous auction high for Basquiat months earlier, bidding $57.3 million for an untitled painting at Christie’s. In 2016, he also purchased a work by Pablo Picasso for $22.6 million and several other expensive pieces.
Forbes estimates Maezawa is worth $2.9 billion, so he’s got deep pockets to bankroll his art addiction and space ambitions.
The ex-musician is currently dating famous Japanese actress Ayame Goriki. No word yet on whether she’ll snag a seat to the moon.