Months after he was named as the first passenger on Elon Musk’s planned rocket flight around the moon, the Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has entered the record books for posting the most retweeted message in Twitter’s 13-year-history.
Writing in Japanese, Maezawa noted in his 5 January tweet that his online fashion retailer, Zozotown, had recorded astonishing sales, and to celebrate dangled a cash gift in front of followers who retweeted the message.
To show his appreciation, he said he would “present one million yen ($9,200) in cash to 100 people to make a total of 100 million yen,” adding that he would contact the winners via direct message after the 7 January deadline.
The message has since between retweeted more than four million times, beating the previous records set by a Nevada teenager’s 2017 campaign to secure a year’s supply of chicken nuggets and Ellen DeGeneres’s celebrity selfie at the 2014 Oscars.
The number of people following Maezawa’s account surged from around 500,000 at the end of last week to more than 4.5 million by Monday lunchtime, according to the Japan Times.
Maezawa has amassed a personal fortune estimated at $3bn, making him Japan’s 18th richest person, according to Forbes.
Last year he added to the pressure on rival fashion retailers with the launch of a made-to-measure garment service using a bodysuit called the Zozosuit.
An avid art collector, Maezawa has also demonstrated a philanthropic side, founding the Tokyo-based Contemporary Art Foundation in 2012 to support up-and-coming artists.
The 43-year-old founder and chief executive of Japan’s largest online fashion retailer is better known internationally as the first private passenger to make a planned trip around the moon on Musk’s Big Falcon Rocket (BFR), which is under construction.
When Musk named Maezawa as BFR’s first paying passenger last September, the Japanese entrepreneur said he planned to invite several artists to join him on the lunar flyby.
“They will be asked to create something after they return to Earth. These masterpieces will inspire the dreamer within all of us,” he said.