Akiyama, Toyohiro (1944–)

Toyohiro Akiyama was the first Japanese in orbit and the first fee-paying space passenger. A reporter for the TBS television station, Akiyama flew to the Mir space station in 1992 after his 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. See also space tourism.