Junko Tabei

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Junko Tabei
Junko Tabei.jpg
Junko Tabei in 1985 at Communism Peak. Photo by Jaan Künnap.
Born (1939-09-22) 22 September 1939 (age 77)
Nationality Japanse
Occupation mountaineer
Known for first woman atop the Mount Everest

Junko Tabei (田部井 淳子 Tabei Junko?, born September 22, 1939)[1] is a Japanese mountain-climber who, on May 16, 1975, became the first woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest.[2]

Early climbing history[edit]

After obtaining a degree in English literature from Showa Women's University where she was a member of the mountain climbing club, Tabei formed the "Ladies Climbing Club: Japan (LCC)" in 1969. She has climbed Mount Fuji in Japan as well as the Matterhorn in the Swiss Alps, among others. By 1972, Tabei was a recognized mountain climber in Japan.

Everest expedition[edit]

The team of JWEE (Japanese Women’s Everest Expedition) consisted of fifteen, mostly working women including teachers, a computer programmer and a juvenile counselor. Two of them, including Tabei, were mothers.[3] JWEE, headed by Eiko Hisano, was a part of the Ladies Climbing Club, founded in 1969. After successful summit of Annapurna III on May 19, 1970 by Tabei and Hiroko Hirakawa,[4] LCC decided to attack Mount Everest.

Although they obtained last-minute funding from Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper and Nippon Television, all the members still had to pay an amount that was almost equal to Japan’s average salary. To save money, they would use recycled car sheets to sew up water-proof pouches and over-gloves. They purchased goose feather from China and made their own sleeping bags. Students at school collected unused packets of jam for their teachers.[5]

After a long training period, they began the expedition early in 1975 when they traveled to Kathmandu. They used the same route Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay took in 1953.

In early May the women were camping at 6,300 meters when an avalanche struck their camp. The women, including Tabei and the guides, were buried under the snow. Tabei lost consciousness for approximately six minutes until her Sherpa guide dug her out. Twelve days after the avalanche, Tabei became the first female to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

Later activities[edit]

In the early 1990s, Tabei became the first woman to climb to the summit of Mount Vinson, Antarctica's highest mountain.[6] On 28 June 1992 Tabei finished the climb of Puncak Jaya to become the first woman to complete the Seven Summits.[2][7]

Tabei had a goal to climb the highest peak in every country in the world and continues to work on ecological concerns. Tabei is the director of Himalayan Adventure Trust of Japan, an organization working on a global level to preserve mountain environments.[8]

Further reading[edit]

  • 『エベレスト・ママさん:山登り半生記』(山と渓谷社 ,1978年)ISBN 4-635-04705-9
  • 『七大陸最高峰に立って』(小学館, 1992年)ISBN 4-09-387086-1
  • 『山の頂の向こうに』 (佼成出版社,1995年)ISBN 4-333-01706-8
  • 『エプロンはずして夢の山』(東京新聞出版局,1996年)ISBN 4-8083-0567-4
  • 『さわやかに山へ』(東京新聞出版局,1997年)ISBN 4-8083-0598-4
  • 田部井淳子編『エヴェレストの女たちWomen on Everest』(山と溪谷社,1998年)ISBN 4-635-17113-2
  • 『山を楽しむ』(岩波書店, 2002年)ISBN 4-00-430803-8
  • 『はじめての山歩き:花、木、自然に会いに』(文化出版局,2002年)ISBN 4-579-30397-0
  • 『高いところが好き』(小学館,2007年)「七大陸最高峰に立って」の増補 ISBN 978-4-09-408206-7
  • 『山からの贈り物』(角川学芸出版,2007年)ISBN 978-4-04-621304-4
  • 『いつでも山を:田部井淳子の実践エイジング登山』(小学館,2008年)ISBN 978-4-09-387776-3

Related books:

  • 日本女子登山隊著『私たちのエベレスト:女性初登頂の全記録』(読売新聞社, 1975年)
  • 落合誓子著『女たちの山:シシャパンマに挑んだ女子隊9人の決算』(山と渓谷社,1982年)ISBN 4-635-04136-0
  • NHK プロジェクトX 制作班編『プロジェクトX挑戦者たち;6:ジャパンパワー、飛翔』(日本放送出版協会, 2001年)ISBN 4-14-080574-9
  • 澤正宏ほか編,木村幸雄監修『福島県文学全集.第2期(随筆・紀行・詩編) 第4巻 (現代編1)』(郷土出版社, 2002年) ISBN 4-87663-586-2
  • 養老孟司 著『話せばわかる!:養老孟司対談集:身体がものをいう』(清流出版,2003年)ISBN 4-86029-050-X
  • 毎日新聞社大阪本社学芸部編『わたしとおかあさん』(青幻舎,2004年)ISBN 4-86152-005-3
  • 日本エッセイスト・クラブ編『カマキリの雪予想:ベスト・エッセイ集;2006年版』(文藝春秋,2006年)ISBN 978-4-16-368380-5
  • Dictionary of Women Worldwide: 25,000 Women Through the Ages[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Official website- profile". Retrieved 22 September 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Robert Horn (29 April 1996). "No Mountain Too High For Her : Junko Tabei defied Japanese views of women to become an expert climber". Sports Illustrated. Archived from the original on December 13, 2013.  Retrieved 29 December 2015
  3. ^ JWEE 1975+40 official website "Women’s Quest for Everest"
  4. ^ The Himalayan Journal Vol.30 "JAPANESE WOMEN'S ANNAPURNA III EXPEDITION, 1970"
  5. ^ Junko Tabei Official Blog "エベレストの準備 その5"
  6. ^ Kurtenbach, Elaine (31 March 1991). "Japanese Woman Scales Mountains While Ignoring Society's Stereotypes". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 30 August 2016. 
  7. ^ The American Alpine Journal. Volume 67 of American Alpine Club Annual Resources Series. The Mountaineers Books. 1997. p. 125. ISBN 0930410556. 
  8. ^ Otake, Tomoko, "Junko Tabei : The first woman atop the world", Japan Times, 27 May 2012, p. 7
  9. ^ Commire, Anne; Klezmer, Deborah (2007). Dictionary of Women Worldwide: 25,000 Women Through the Ages. Detroit: Yorkin Publications. p. 1825. 

External links[edit]