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10 Things You Didn't Know about Maezawa Yusaku

Maezawa Yusaku

Maezawa Yusaku is a Japanese businessman. His exact net worth is unknown. However, Forbes has estimated his net worth to be approximately $1.9 billion. In recent times, interested individuals might have seen Maezawa's name in the news because he is the first tourist at the International Space Station in about a decade's time.

1. Born in Kamagaya

Maezawa was born in the city of Kamagaya. The region was once used for farming. However, it was situated on some important routes as well. Nowadays, farming has become much less important. Meanwhile, Kamagaya has become a transportation hub, which has brought about a wide range of consequences. To name one, its proximity to both Chiba and Tokyo means that it has become something of a bedroom community for both.

2. Big Music Fan

It seems safe to say that Maezawa is a big music fan. After all, he was in an indie band when he was still in high school. Furthermore, Maezawa hasn't been shy about revealing his favorite bands, which include both Japanese and non-Japanese acts.

3. He Was a Drummer

Speaking of which, Maezawa was the drummer for his indie band. This is interesting because drummers are some of the most stereotyped instrumentalists out there. For example, they are often seen as being dumber than other instrumentalists because of the idea that they aren't "real" musicians. Similarly, they are often seen as being more brutal than other instrumentalists because of the idea that they "just" hit things. In truth, drummers are as real as other instrumentalists. Unfortunately, there is some scientific evidence to suggest that they have often internalized those stereotypes because they report themselves to be less intelligent when compared with, say, guitarists.

4. Didn't Go to College

Maezawa didn't go to college after graduating from high school. Instead, he made the decision to move to the United States with his girlfriend. There, Maezawa proceeded to put a great deal of time and effort into expanding his collection of CDs and records, thus further cementing his status as a big music fan.

5. Fond of a Lot of Famous English-Speaking Bands

On a related note, Maezawa is fond of a lot of English-speaking bands. Something that is perhaps unsurprising considering that he spent a bit of the 1990s in the United States. In fact, some of his favorites are pretty much exactly what one would expect from someone who fits that description. To name some examples, Maezawa's favorites include Green Day, Foo Fighters, Rage Against the Machine, Pearl Jam, and the Smashing Pumpkins, all of which are bands that rose to prominence in the 1990s. Similarly, Maezawa's favorites also include a fair number of bands that rose to prominence in the 1980s such as Slayer, Pantera, and Bad Religion. In case it needs to be said, he has a lot of favorite bands, as befitting a big music fan.

6. His First Business Was Music-Related

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Maezawa's first business was music-related. For those who are curious, when he returned to Japan, he started up a business that sold imported albums through the mail. Something that Maezawa would have had a fair amount of knowledge about because of his strong interest in non-Japanese music. Of course, he didn't become a billionaire by sticking with that, though he did get quite a boost from it.

7. Made a Choice Between Business and Music

It should be mentioned that Maezawa didn't just drop his musical aspirations. After all, he continued on, with the result that his band actually got signed by BMG Japan in 1998. The timing was fateful, seeing as how that was the same year in which Maezawa launched Start Today using the imported albums business that he had already started up. He would pursue both paths before choosing to focus on business in 2001, which was when he announced a hiatus in his music career. Meanwhile, Start Today would eventually go public.

8. Big Art Fan

It seems safe to say that Maezawa is a big art fan as well. Generally speaking, people don't spend millions and millions of dollars on single artworks unless they have at least some level of interest in the latter. Maezawa is notable for having spent $57.3 million on a painting of a devil by Jean-Michel Basquiat. After which, he proceeded to spend $110.5 million on a painting of a skull by the same artist. These are not the only artworks that Maezawa has purchased, meaning that he is called an art collector for a reason. In fact, he has mentioned wanting to open a contemporary art museum in the city of Chiba, which would be used to house his collection.

9. Secured Most Retweets for a Twitter Message

Maezawa seems to be interested in interacting with people through social media. After all, he managed to secure the most retweets for a Twitter message on January 5 of 2019, which was made possible because he offered a million yen each to 1,000 random individuals who retweeted him and followed him. In total, Maezawa managed to get more than 4 million people to do exactly that.

10. Went Into Space with His Assistant

Amusingly, Maezawa didn't go into space as a tourist on his own. Instead, he also paid for a seat for his assistant Hirano Yozo, who will have the job of documenting Maezawa's trip. This isn't a new thing. After all, Hirano already had a job working on Maezawa's personal projects, which included filming things for Maezawa's YouTube channel. As such, one could say that this is just a continuation of his normal responsibilities, though in a much more unusual location than most of the time. After all, the total number of people who have ever visited the International Space Station are in the low hundreds. The total number of space tourists who have done the same are much, much lower than that.

Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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