Yusaku Maezawa sought love in the way only a lonely, 44-year-old fashion billionaire could: asking the women of the internet to apply for a chance to accompany him on a spaceflight around the moon — if they had “bright and positive” personalities and were over 20.
But on Thursday, Mr. Maezawa’s dream, and those, apparently, of more than 27,000 hopefuls, appeared to be in question after he called off a documentary about the weeklong, multimillion-dollar journey.
Mr. Maezawa apologized, saying on Twitter that he had asked for the show’s cancellation “due to personal reasons.”
“Despite my genuine and honest determination toward the show, there was a part of me that still had mixed feelings about my participation,” Mr. Maezawa said. “To think that 27,722 women, with earnest intentions and courage, had used their precious time to apply makes me feel extremely remorseful to conclude and inform everyone with this selfish decision of mine.”
It was not clear if that meant Mr. Maezawa intended to make the trip alone or if, perhaps, he had found love without cameras. He could not immediately be reached for comment.
Mr. Maezawa is the founder of Zozotown, Japan’s largest fashion retailer, and is considered an exceptional self-promoter in a country that has a largely conservative corporate culture. His fame in the United States grew in 2017 after he bought a 1982 painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat for $110 million.
In 2018, he made headlines again when it was revealed that he would be the first private passenger on a flight around the moon by SpaceX, the rocket company of the billionaire Elon Musk. The trip, on the company’s Big Falcon Rocket, is supposed to happen in 2023.
Tickets most likely cost many millions of dollars, which Mr. Maezawa has — he holds a net worth of $3.6 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Mr. Maezawa booked out the whole rocket and said he wanted to bring a group of painters, musicians, dancers, photographers, film directors, fashion designers and architects with him.
He also wanted to bring a “life partner.” This month, in a post on AbemaTV, a Japanese video-streaming website, he announced that he was looking for someone to fill that role, and said that AbemaTV would be making a “matchmaking documentary” about his quest called “Full Moon Lovers.”
“I’m sure I’ve been able to acquire my share of money, social status and fame along the way,” Mr. Maezawa wrote on the website. “But now I’m restarting my life. I’m 44 now. As feelings of loneliness and emptiness slowly begin to surge upon me, there’s one thing that I think about: continuing to love one woman.”
He went on, “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, who is divorced and has three children, has said that he and his most recent girlfriend, the model and actor Ayame Goriki, separated last year because he wanted her to go to space with him but they “had different aspirations.”