Billionaire Yusuke Maezawa has purchased a Stradivarius violin. His promise to send it around the globe has netizens humming, but not in a good way.

Chances are if you’ve visited Japan, you’ve seen the machinations of Yusuke Maezawa. CEO of famous fashion retailer ZOZOTOWN, Maezawa has been credited with the creation of the ZOZOSUIT body measuring system. He’s also a deep appreciator of the arts; Maezawa has been spotted at various high-profile auctions, dropping serious amounts of cash on paintings by American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, and when he travels to the Moon in 2023 he will bring a team of artists along with him.

Maezawa has been shopping around the expensive aisles once more, it seems. In this upload to Instagram he shows off his latest investment: one of the rarest violins in the world, a 1717 Stradivarius Hamma.

View this post on Instagram

I purchased Stradivari 1717 Violin “Hamma”. Like Basquiat painting, I would like to make it travel around the world to send its strong and delicate sound to children in every region and country it visits under cooperation from local musicians. #stradivarius #stradivari Sorry for my terrible first violin playing... --- ‪1717年製のストラディヴァリウス「Hamma(ハンマ)」を買いました(8月12日の投稿のType 3がそれです)。バスキアと同じように、世界中を旅させ、現地音楽家の協力のもと、その地域や国々の子供たちの耳にその力強くも繊細な奇跡の音色を届けたいと思います。 #ストラディバリウス 初めてのヴァイオリン演奏に挑戦してみました笑。

A post shared by Yusaku Maezawa (MZ) (@yusaku2020) on

Beautiful photographs of the instrument show off its masterful craftwork, the beautiful honey tones of the wood and the classic, perfect decoration…and in the last upload in the slideshow, Maezawa treats us to a beginner’s rendition of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”.

While there are thousands upon thousands of reproductions out there, Stradivarius’ handmade creations are famously few and far-between. Private deals have been struck for these precious violins to the tune of over 15 million US dollars, so Maezawa will have had to dig down far into his deep pockets to secure this one. Pricing website Kakaku.com cites a potential price for this specific model as 1,000,000,000 Japanese yen (US$8,750,000)!

But Maezawa doesn’t intend to keep this treasure all to himself. According to his Instagram caption he wants to spread the wealth of the Stradivarius by sending it around the globe, where it can be used by different local musicians to enrich children’s education in classical music. Maezawa has already set up a similar project with his collection of Basquiat paintings, so it’s not too hard to imagine it in practice.

No matter his altruistic intentions, the screeching tones of his take on a nursery rhyme are what drew the most attention from the Internet, and more than one person was critical of his overly benevolent self-PR.

“I feel kind of bad for the violin… I wish the owner was someone who could play it, instead.”
“Hey, if you can afford to take trips to the Moon and buy a ridiculously-priced violin, why don’t you pay more of the courier fees for shipping from ZOZOTOWN?”
“This is a nice gesture, but I’d rather he think about his employees’ wages.”
“I really wish people wouldn’t buy something so precious on a whim. This instrument should be in the hands of someone truly deserving of it, and definitely not just someone who has a lot of money.”

Still, there were people willing to stand up for Maezawa’s latest purchase. Or at least one person, anyway.

“You can tell from all the complaints in this comment section how broke Japan is. I can’t comprehend why you guys care so much about how he spends his money. He used his own cash to buy it, and that’s that.”

We can certainly think of a few candidates who’d benefit from a Stradivarius upgrade – maybe they’ll get a shot once ZOZOTOWN’s boss ships it around the masses? Here’s hoping!

Source: Instagram/Yusaku Maezawa, Kakaku.com via JIN
Featured image: Instagram/Yusaku Maezawa