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‘Space Now’: Japan’s Tycoon Yusaku Maezawa Returns From ISS With Business Dreams



“Space Now,” Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has wanted to tweet for years. After all he actually did this from the International Space Station.

“The space market has so much potential,” he said Friday at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Tokyo, his first news conference in Japan since returning to Earth before Christmas.

Maizawa, who heads a company called Start Today, is preparing to invest in various businesses that could grow from ongoing research by NASA, the Japanese counterpart called JAXA and others. But he wants to be the first to recover from his recent celestial adventure: returning to life with gravity has proved heavier than he expected, he said.

Maezawa, 46, blasted off on December 8 aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft with a Russian cosmonaut, becoming the first self-paid tourist to visit the station since 2009.

He returned to Earth after spending 12 days aboard the orbiter, where he clowns in weightlessness, shaping water droplets into bubbles, and puncturing a golf ball drifting toward a flagpole in the spacecraft. Took video.

The clip, taken by Maezawa’s accompanying astronaut Yozo Hirano, has been posted to YouTube, garnering millions of views.

He tweeted “Uchyu Now,” or “Space Now,” a style the Japanese often use on popular social media, such as “Party Now,” or “Dinner Now.”

“Here’s what I really wanted to say. My first tweet from space,” said the post, accompanied by a photo wearing a T-shirt and shorts, swimming cross-legged in a meditation pose.

He said he would like to tweet “Moon Now” next. He has booked an orbit around the Moon on Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s starship, which is scheduled for the next few years, possibly as early as next year.

“I don’t know when exactly I should tweet this,” he said, as he would not land on the moon. “Maybe when we get past the moon.”

Maezawa has over 11 million Twitter followers and has emerged as a flamboyant figure known for a free-wheeling managerial style that is rare in Japan’s conformist, stagnant business world.

He ran an import CD business and played in a rock band before starting an online fashion business in 1998. Famous for dating movie stars, Maezawa has been both praised and ridiculed for his works, including Stradivarius violins and artworks by Jean-Michel Basquiat. and Andy Warhol.

In 2019, Maezawa resigned as CEO of e-commerce company Zozo, selling his business to Yahoo Japan, to devote his time to space travel. Forbes magazine estimates that his wealth is $ 1.9 billion (about Rs 14,120 crore).

How much Mezwa paid for his journey has been the subject of much speculation and doubt. Reports put the price tag at over $80 million (about Rs 595 crore). Maezawa again declined to disclose the cost.

But he said living in space is something he appreciates more everyday: the wind, the changing seasons, the smell and the sushi.

Maezawa hopes that one day world leaders can make the same journey. They said that planet Earth is “100 times more beautiful” than any photograph, he said, and so perhaps they will also realize the importance of working together.

“That’s my dream,” he said.

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