Ain't No Mountain High Enough for Marin Miyamiya
Japan's Youngest Mountaineer to Conquer Mount Everest and the World's Seven Summits
While most Japanese university students spend their time wondering what part-time job to get or preparing for exams, Marin Minamiya, a political economy student at Tokyo's elite Waseda University, is testing her physical, mental and emotional boundaries while also breaking world records. On October 1, 2015, the 18-year-old became the world's youngest female to successfully ascend the world's eighth highest peak, Mount Manaslu in Nepal. She also became the youngest Japanese person to successfully climb a peak above 8,000 meters. By March 2016, she had already skied to the South Pole, climbed the highest peaks in Antarctica (Vinson Massif ), the Australian continent (Carstensz Pyramid) and Russia (Mount Elbrus). In May 2016, she became Japan's youngest to conquer Mount Everest and since then climbed North America's highest peak, Mt. Denali, becoming Japan's youngest to complete the Seven Summits ー the highest mountains on each of the seven continents. Just prior to her Mount Everest expedition, Tokyo Journal Executive Editor Anthony Al-Jamie talked with Marin Minamiya about the ups and downs of mountaineering and what lies ahead for the young adventurer.
TJ: How did you first get into mountain climbing?
MINAMIYA: I first got into mountain climbing when I was in Hong Kong. I was going to high school there and I joined this program called the Hong Kong Youth Award program. Through that, I started mountaineering. I was attracted to it because Hong Kong is like a concrete jungle and I loved getting out of the city. It was fascinating seeing all these tall buildings behind me when I was climbing up small mountains in Hong Kong. I continued to do it because my parents' relationship wasn't very good and it was a way for me to get out of the city life and all this turmoil that was going on. It was extremely refreshing for me whenever I saw the beautiful scenery. My friends and I planned to go to Nepal to Annapurna Base Camp. That's when I first saw Everest. I swore to my friends and myself that I would come back and climb that mountain someday. I had read a newspaper article about a young Nepalese girl named Nimdoma Sherpa climbing Mount Everest and it really inspired me. After that, my friends and I climbed some mountains in Tibet and I climbed Aconcagua [in Argentina] after completing my university application. I got some sponsors and I am nancially independent from my father in carrying out most of my mountain activities.
TJ: How did you learn English?
MINAMIYA: Ever since I was one year old I have been living overseas. My dad had traveled a lot and his work required him to work overseas, so I moved to Malaysia, Dalian in China, Shanghai and Hong Kong, and I also studied a little bit in New York.
The complete article can be found in Issue #278 of the Tokyo Journal. Click here to order from Amazon.