Junko Ishibashi was born in Miharu, Japan, on September 22, 1939. She was the fifth daughter in a family of seven children.
Although a very weak child at first, Junko nevertheless began mountain climbing around 1950, while on a school trip to Mount Nasu. Although she developed a hobby of mountain climbing, her family was too poor for this, and she made only few when she was in high school.
From 1958 to 1962, Junko studied English at Showa Women's University, where she was also a member of the mountain climbing club.
Junko married Masanobu Tabei in 1965. She had a daughter named Noriko and a son named Shinya.
Junko formed a mountain climbing club in 1969. During this time, she climbed Mount Fuji and the Matterhorn in Europe, becoming recognized throughout Japan in 1972.
On May 16, 1975, Junko became the first woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest. Although she received more attention worldwide, she was more uncomfortable about her claim to fame.
Around 1990, Junko reached the summit of Mount Vinson in Antarctica. On June 28, 1992, she reached the top of Puncak Jaya and therefore became the first woman to complete the Seven Summits.
In 2000, Junko completed her postgraduate studies at Kyushu University concerning the environment of Mount Everest and the waste left behind by climbing groups. She also worked to preserve the environments of the mountains, focusing on waste removal in Japan and the Himalayas.
Although Junko Tabei was diagnosed with cancer in 2012, she continued her mountain climbing up until her death at the age of 77 in Kawagoe, Japan, on October 20, 2016.
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