Yusaku Maezawa, the billionaire who founded Japanese internet fashion retail site Zozotown, is the first space tourist to visit the International Space Station in a decade. The entrepreneur told AP that his self-funded trip “pretty much” cost over $80 million. While in space, he’s done a PR stunt for Uber Eats, showed off the space station’s toilet, and talked about his favorite manga.
Maezawa has been criticized for going to space for a number of very obvious reasons—to which, he replied, “Those who criticize are perhaps those who have never been to space.” True, perhaps, but that’s a pretty arrogant and elitist thing to say!
The manga Maezawa brought was Chuya Koyama’s Space Brothers, which is about two siblings who are astronauts. The manga spawned an anime TV series, an anime movie, and a live-action film. Is this the first manga in space? I honestly don’t know! Surely, someone must have brought one to read.
In 2010, while on the ISS, astronaut Soichi Noguchi wore the same red arrow shirt donned by Susumu Kodai in the Space Battleship Yamato anime. I guess that could be considered the first cosplay in space? No idea if Noguchi brought manga to read.
“I wanted to bring all forty volumes [of Space Brothers] and read them here in space, but that’s too many volumes for my payload,” said Maezawa in a YouTube clip. Instead, he brought Volume 27. That particular entry’s story, which was set on the ISS, made a huge impact on Maezawa, explaining why he wanted to read it on, well, the ISS.
Maezawa was so moved when recounting the manga’s story that he began weeping. “This isn’t PR, by the way,” he quipped, adding, “I genuinely love this manga series.”
“I can cry just by remembering this one scene,” he said. “It’s amazing that manga can do that.”
The whole clip is about five minutes, with Maezawa recounting the volume and how it impacted him. “I cannot recommend this manga enough,” the billionaire said, adding that the manga was suitable for even kids.
If this isn’t the first manga that was brought into space, then this has to be the first manga reviewed from space.