Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 30 March 2020

Japanese tycoon seeks 'lady love' to fly around moon on Elon Musk’s rocket

Billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, the first civilian paying passenger to go on a lunar trip in 2023, has launched an online campaign

SpaceX founder Elon Musk (L), introduces Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa as the first private passenger on a trip around the moon, in September 2018. AP
SpaceX founder Elon Musk (L), introduces Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa as the first private passenger on a trip around the moon, in September 2018. AP

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa is looking for a female partner to accompany him on a week-long maiden flight around the moon on Elon Musk’s SpaceX rocket.

The 44-year-old tycoon, who will be the first civilian paying passenger to travel around the moon on SpaceX’s Starship in 2023, has launched an online campaign to find a companion.

“I want to find a life partner... with that future partner of mine, I want to shout our love and world peace from outer space,” Mr Maezawa wrote in a post on AbemaTV, a Japanese video streaming website.

“As feeling of loneliness and emptiness slowly begin to surge up on me, there's one thing that I think about: continuing to love one woman,” he added.

The deadline to apply is January 17 and Mr Maezawa will begin scrutinising applications by the end of the month. A final decision will be made by the end of March, according to AbemaTV.

Mr Maezawa has also tweeted a link to the website under his handle @yousuch2020 and it was retweeted more than 10,000 times, including by Mr Musk.

“[WANTED!!!] Why not be the ‘first woman’ to travel to the moon?”, he tweeted.

In September, 2018, Mr Maezawa was introduced as the first passenger on a flight to the moon, on a rocket built by Mr Musk’s SpaceX. Mr Musk has an estimated $12.5 billion (Dh45.88bn) stake in SpaceX, his privately held aerospace company that deploys reusable rockets.

Mr Maezawa also made a splash in the art world in 2017 when he spent $110.5 million on a single Jean-Michel Basquiat painting at a Sotheby’s auction, setting a record for an American artist’s work at the time.

AbemaTV also mentions a list of conditions for the prospective applicants in a matrimony profile-style, saying the contender must be a “single woman, over the age of 20, bright personality, always positive and interested in going into space". Abema TV is also producing a short film documenting the selection process and later stages of the journey.

Mr Maezawa, who skipped college to be a part of a rock band in California, founded Tokyo Stock Exchange-listed fashion e-commerce platform Zozotown in 2004. He stepped down as the company’s chief executive in September 2019, after Yahoo Japan agreed to pay as much as $3.7bn to acquire a 50.1 per cent stake in the firm.

The surprise deal shook up the domestic e-commerce landscape in Japan while bolstering the prospects of growth for Yahoo Japan, whose biggest shareholder is the local telecommunications arm of Masayoshi Son’s SoftBank Group.

Zozotown, which had a market value of $6.3bn before the deal, has carved out a niche in online fashion industry against aggressive rivals like Amazon and Rakuten.

At an undisclosed price, Mr Maezawa has not only secured a spot for himself on the Starship rocket, but bought every available seat.

He will be reaching out to top creatives in various artistic fields, including painters, sculptors, photographers, musicians, film directors, fashion designers and architects for a lunar trip.

Mr Maezawa has a net worth of $3.6bn, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Earlier this month, he promised to share $925,000 between 100 randomly-selected people who shared one of his tweets.

Updated: January 13, 2020 08:51 PM

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