Home > Culture > Yusaku Maezawa: Six things to know about the space-faring art collector
Yusaku Maezawa: Six things to know about the space-faring art collector

The resume of Yusaku Maezawa reads like a nonfictional version of Tony Stark: Billionaire. Space traveller. Art collector. Philanthropist.


The Chiba-born entrepreneur founded online retailer Zozo in 2004, now Japan’s largest online fashion retailer. He made headlines in 2017 with his US$110.5 million purchase of an infamous Basquiat painting, Untitled. More recently, his foray into space (an astonishing 12 days upon the ISS) along with his upcoming SpaceX Starship “dearMoon” lunar flyby has taken centre stage. For the latter, he plans to take a group of artists, photographers and flimmakers with him with the intention of creating art, in space, for the first time.  

 Below, we have compiled six moments from Maezawa’s new Prestige cover on Basquiat, space travel, and what comes after conquering the vast beyond.  


Artwork is purchased mostly on “feeling.”  

“Generally, I invest in art which I have strong feelings towards, but there are always different reasons each time for why I might buy. Sometimes an artwork is just powerful, like Ed Ruscha’s. It has not any sadness to it.”  


He doesn’t love every work by Basquiat but when he does, he loves hard.  

“I was really touched and overwhelmed by the experience of [seeing Untitled] in person, and just had this amazing feeling of a kind of personal connection. It just seemed to shine. But not only is the work and its aura so very powerful; I also thought it a little bit sad and even transient as well.”  


He brought a painting aboard the ISS just to liven up the place.

“…Like a bunch of flowers to brighten up the very bland and very austere nature of the interior.”  

Watch Maezawa hang the painting, titled L’Atelier du peintre by Ida Yukimasa, below:  


He’s currently experimenting with Universal Basic Income in Japan.  

“People can be happier if they receive basic income. If people were given money needed for an adequate living, wound’t they have the freedom to enjoy work, [which would] therefore increase people’s labour productivity?” 


He reviewed over one million artist submissions over three years to pick his current dearMoon creative crew, one of which is Irish photographer Rhiannon Adam.  

“She uses Polaroids and one of her ideas is to use this very low-tech technology to capture space. But her idea is one you probably would never expect to have, in which she will just use the ‘natural’ light.” 


After space, the next frontier will be the deep ocean in the Mariana Trench. But the last frontier is himself. 

“Well, I’ve gone to Space and I’m going to the deep sea. So, outside of myself, there’s not much else to see. So, the next journey will be to look inside myself. I turn 50 soon, and after that I’d be looking at myself more internally. That makes sense. … I’m going to start pottery. I’m seeking spiritual enlightenment, so I want to actually pour my soul into the soil.”



Read the whole story “Yusaku Maezawa: A Space/Art Odyssey” in Prestige magazine, now available for purchase at newsstands and bookstores in Hong Kong.

Yusaku Maezawa: Six things to know about the space-faring art collector

Vanessa Lee

Managing Editor

Never miss an update

Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest updates.

No Thanks
You’re all set

Thank you for your subscription.