The Laugher

Junko Tabei was the first woman to climb Mount Everest, and the first woman to climb the tallest mountain on each continent.


Her obituary in the Christian Science Monitor observes:

The early climbing achievements of Tabei, a married mother of two, were especially noteworthy at a time when most women were expected to stay home and perform domestic duties.

They are all the more noteworthy considering she was once labeled a “weak child.”

She had the last laugh, though: even after a cancer diagnosis in her seventies, she continued to climb, working toward her goal of scaling the highest peak in every country in the world.


“Mount Fuji & Sakura,” Hideo


There is a poetic device in Japanese haiku poetry called a kigo, a word or phrase associated with a season. Fittingly,  Tabei’s favorite, expressing spring, was “the mountain laughs.”