Tabei, first woman to scale Sagarmatha passes away


Kathmandu, Oct. 23: Junko Tabei, the first woman to conquer Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest), has died at the age of 77. 

According to Japanese newspaper Mainichi, she died of peritoneal cancer at Saitama Hospital Thursday morning.

The Japanese government disclosed her death only on Saturday.

Tabei climbed the world’s highest peak in 1975 at the age of 35, and did not take a rest until she reached atop the highest mountains each of the seven continents.

“In 1972, she became the first woman to complete the ‘seven summits’,” writes Maichini.

 On 16th May, 1975, the woman from Fukushima climbed Mt. Everest with her guide Ang Tshering Sherpa.

Tabei’s success served as a great feat for the women around the globe.

Her achievement was also heralded as a symbol of the huge strides the Japanese women had made in their long struggle for equality and freedom of choice, The Japan Times wrote four years back.

Tabei was born on September 22, 1939 in Fukushima.

She was a graduate of Showa Women’s University in English and American Literature, and completed master’s course in comparative social culture from Kyushu University.

Her study theme for the master’s degree was ‘Garbage problem in the Himalayas’, writes  

In 1969, she established ‘Ladies Climbing Club – Japan’ with the slogan – Let’s go on an overseas expedition by ourselves.

Tabei’s club had a 15-member team called Japanese Women’s Everest Expedition (JWEE) prepared to climb the Mt. Everest.

She had climbed the highest peaks of 56 countries by March 2008.

She was awarded with Nepal’s highest medal, Gorkha Dakshin Bahu in 1975.

Japan awarded her with various medals and awards, including Distinguished Service Medal of the Ministry of Education Culture Sports Science and Technology, Prime Minister’s Award and Environment Minister’s Award.

She had been involved in various initiatives for protecting the mountain environment.

She wrote seven books on mountaineering and her experience on climbing the mountains.

Tabei served as the chairperson of Himalayan Adventure Trust of Japan, council member of Japanese Alpine Club, member of Central Environment Council at the Ministry of Environment, director of Japan Trekking Association and board member of Showa Women’s University.


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