Miura Yuichiro

Miura Yuichiro"Because it' there." These were the classic words of British mountaineer George Mallory of his attempt to reach the top of Mt. Everest, at 8848m the highest point on Earth. He failed (fatally) but 29 years later, on May 29 of 1953, Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay became the first two men to stand on top of the world. Since then, over 500 climbers have managed the feat, making it, if not exactly everyday news, no longer remarkable. The challenge now is to find ever more difficult, or even downright bizarre, ways of leaving one's mark on Everest. None breaks the mold better than Miura Yuichiro The Man Who Skied Down Everest.

Born in Aomori in 1932, Miura is a fanatic adventure skier whose trademark is his constant desire to push the envelope. In 1964 he participated in the Italian Kilometer Lanciad, the first time for a Japanese skier, at which he established a new world record of 172.081kph. Not content with ski racing alone, in 1966 he skied down Mt. Fuji for another first: He became the first skier to employ a parachute brake. Skiing down mountains is clearly Miura's passion: Mt. McKinley (1967), Popocatepetl (1968), Towers of Paine (1969), and Mt. Kilimanjaro (1981, with his 77-year-old father).

The feat which took his name to new heights was his historic slide down the 8150m South Col of Mt. Everest in May of 1970. Captured on film, his story became the subject of The Man Who Skied Down Everest, which took home the Best Oscar statuette for a documentary in 1975. This escapade (which cost an estimated $3 million to pull off) nearly ended in fatal disaster as Miura, with the aid of a parachute, slid to a stop on his stomach, mere meters from the edge of the precipice. He attained speeds of over 150kph on his flight down Everest. Miura maintained a detailed and fascinating diary during his ascent of the mountain, which became the source of the Canadian documentary's narration.

Miura (an honorary citizen of the US state of Washington and one-time president of the Alaska Boys & Girls Expeditionary School) now cools his heels in Hokkaido, where he founded the Snow Dolphin Ski and Snowboard School at Teine Highland, site of the 1972 Winter Olympics. In line with Miura's "international approach" to the sport to which he devoted most of his life, the school offers ski and snowboard lessons in both Japanese and English. When not skiing, Miura promotes the sport via summits, international ski tours, invitationals and events. Lately, he tested the waters of the political arena (with only lukewarm results).

No matter: Having tackled the highest summits on this planet, even down to earth in Hokkaido he's sitting pretty on top of the world.

Gertrude Perkins

299: Nakamura Kankuro
Arizona lover and Kabuki actor
298: Miura Yuichiro
The Man Who Skied Down Everest
297: Iron Chef
Gourmet cuisine battles
296: "Katte wa ikenai"
"Don't buy these products"
295: Oda Yuji
The dancing detective
294: Enoki Takaaki
An artist who acts
293: Glay
Japan's reigning pop princes
292: Akebono
Hawaiian Sumo wrestler
291: Issey Miyake
Fashion designer
290: Murakami Ryu
Radical writer
289: Oshima Nagisa
Movie director
288: Takakura Ken
Crime film actor
287: Miura Kazuyoshi
Soccer player
286: Suzuki Koji
Author of the horror, Ring
285: Tezuka Osamu
God of Comics
284: Yuming
283: Anpanman
Bean-powered superhero
282: Yamaguchi Takashi
Immersed in traditional Japanese music
281: Nasubi
280: Doi Takako
First female Speaker of the House
279: Nakamura Kichiemon
Retiring Kabuki actor
278: Oe Kenzaburo
Nobel prize winning author
277: Kimura Takuya
SMAP member
276: Utada Hikaru
Teenage pop phenomenon
275: Bando Tamasaburo
Kabuki female role impersonator
274: Otomo Katsuhiro
Akira creator
273: Dreams Come True
Premier recording artist
272: Dango San Kyodai
Surprise hit of 1999
271: Banana Yoshimoto
270: Matsuzaka Daisuke
Baseball player
269: Moritaka Chisato
Model and singer
268: Mukai Chiaki
Female astronaut
267: Natto
Traditional Japanese health food
266: Hiroaki Kikuoka
Shamisen player
265: Chikamatsu Monzaemon
Japan's most revered dramatist
264: Ryuichi Sakamoto
Oscar-winning musician
263: Shigeo Nagashima
Japan's Mr Baseball
262: Ayako Totsuka
Pioneer careerwoman
261: Yatsuhashi Kengyo
Koto player
260: Chiyotaikai
Sumo wrestler
259: Pocky
Japanese snack food
258: Itsuki Hiroshi
Enka singer
257: Pocket Monsters
Conquering the world
256: Classified ads
New concept in Japan
255: Chara
Japanese pop star
254: Pink Lady
1970's singing duo
253: Takashi Sorimachi
Japanese heartthrob
252: Ennosuke Ichikawa
Kabuki actor
251: Rie Miyazawa
Model and actress
250: Shazna
Visual-kei band

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Issues 349 - 300/1
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