Akiyama, Toyohiro (1944–)

Toyohiro Akiyama was the first Japanese in orbit and the first fee-paying space passenger. Born on 25 October 1943, in Yokohama, Japan he became a reporter for the TBS television station and television personality. He began his career as a journalist in the 1960s, working for various news organizations.


In 1990, Akiyama was selected by the Soviet space agency, the Russian Federal Space Agency, to be the first journalist to travel to space. He traveled to the Mir space station aboard the Soyuz TM-11 spacecraft, along with two Russian cosmonauts, Anatoly Solovyev and Alexander Balandin. Akiyama spent eight days on the Mir space station, conducting experiments and conducting live television broadcasts back to Earth.


Akiyama's employer stumped up the cost of his ride – $12 million. Alongside him was to have been a TBS colleague, camera-woman Ryoko Kikuchi, but her spaceflight ambitions were dashed when she was rushed to hospital before the flight for an emergency appendectomy.


After his return to Earth, Akiyama became a well-known figure in Japan. He continued to work as a journalist, hosting various television programs and writing articles about his experiences in space. In addition to his work as a journalist, Akiyama also became involved in various charitable causes, including efforts to promote peace and understanding between Japan and Russia.


Akiyama's space flight was a major milestone in the history of space travel, as it marked the first time that a journalist had traveled to space. His trip to the Mir space station also helped to foster closer ties between Japan and Russia, and it served as a symbol of international cooperation in space exploration.


Throughout his career, Akiyama has received numerous awards and accolades for his work as a journalist and television personality. He has been recognized for his contributions to space exploration and his efforts to promote understanding between nations. In addition, he has been honored for his contributions to the field of journalism, and he has been recognized for his role in promoting peace and understanding between different cultures.


See also space tourism.