In May 2016, at just 19, Marin Minamiya became the youngest Japanese person to scale Mount Everest. She’s also the youngest person in the world to ascend the highest peaks on all seven continents.
For her, the seemingly impossible is just a challenge awaiting defeat. And she’s been plotting her victory for quite some time.
In 2011, when Minamiya was 13, she embarked on a trip to Nepal with her classmates under the supervision of her teachers from the Hong Kong-based South Island School. There, while trekking the Annapurna base camp, which its highest point boasts an elevation of 19,192 ft., is where she discovered her passion for climbing. And from that moment, she knew she’d go on to tackle one of the most challenging mountains known to man. “Seven summits, no, but Everest, yes,” she noted, when discussing the start of her climbing career.
Since then, she’s taken the sport by storm and celebrated two birthdays by reaching new summits. She took on Mount Aconcagua in Argentina for her 18th — which at an 22,841-foot elevation is the highest mountain outside of Asia. Then, on the eve of her 19th birthday, she tackled the treacherous terrain of Mount Vinson in Antarctica at 6,050 feet, instead of the requisite dinner or nightclub jaunt.
Minamiya said one of her biggest achievements to date is the fact that she was able to combine her love for scaling the world’s largest mountains with fashion and technology, as UNIQLO’s latest global brand ambassador. She was clad in the mega-retailer’s down suit when she reached the summit of Everest.
But her new role actually wasn’t the impetus behind her wearing the fashion house’s pieces. “Before becoming the Japan-based brand ambassador, I had always been wearing UNIQLO to climb mountains,” Minamiya said.
In addition to her climbing commitments, Minamiya is currently studying political science and economics at Waseda University in Tokyo. With much planning, she is able to juggle both her training regimen, UNIQLO duties and academic demands.
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