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Walter Weston – father of mountaineering in Japan

Posted Nov 14 2011 12:00am

I’d never heard of Walter Weston. Have you?

The Reverend Walter Weston (25 December 1860 – 27 March 1940), was an English clergyman, missionary, and mountaineer. …

Weston and Edward Bramwell Clarke are the westerners identified with the emergence of mountain climbing as a new sport in Japan. By the end of Weston’s life, some British climbers referred to him as ‘the father of mountaineering in Japan’.

In 1937, Emperor Hirohito conferred on him the Japanese Order of the Sacred Treasures (fourth class) and the Japanese Alpine Club erected a bronze tablet in his honour at Kamikochi in the Japanese Alps. …

… He published Mountaineering and Exploring in the Japanese Alps (1896). As a writer and lecturer he continued to introduce Japan to an overseas audience. He gave universal currency to the term Japanese Alps, though it was first used before he came to Japan. …

He’s honoured at an annual festival in Kamikochi the first Sunday in June.

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