The first woman to climb Mount Everest died of cancer on Thursday at the age of 77, Japanese media said on Monday.
Junko Tabei, who was a member of the Japanese Women’s Everest Expedition, summited the world’s highest peak in 1975, in a time it was considered shameful for women to do such things.
“Back in 1970s Japan, it was still widely considered that men were the ones to work outside and women would stay home,” she said in a 2012 interview with the Japan Times.
“There was never any question in my mind that I wanted to climb that mountain, no matter what other people said,” Tabei said. She even left her 3-year-old daughter in the care of her husband while undertaking her climb.
Tabei, in 1992, became the first female to reach the highest peaks on each of the seven continents, setting yet another climbing record.
She then campaigned for better protection of mountain environments and continued to mountaineer into her later years.
Her last climb, in July 2011, was a trek up the famous Mount Fuji with high school students from northeastern Japan, said Japanese broadcaster NHK.