Only for use by Easy-Going Scans
Somewhere at the end of a journey... atop the last peak... a story still goes on.
[Kokou no Hito 170 Translation by Kewl0210]
Title: Final Climb Survivor
Title: Final Climb Survivor
[The world goes on]
Narration: July------- Kamikouchi
Guy: We finally got to the Byoubu Col.
I can finally see it...
Guy: A-Are you okay?
You're not hurt, are you?
I'll help you up.
Is that okay?
Buntarou: S... Sorry.
Katou: Thank you very much.
Guy: Ah, it was nothing...
Katou: All right then...
Guy: Are that man's legs bad, too...?
There are some rocky cliffs past here. Is he gonna be okay...?
Old man: That's the unparalleled climber Katou Buntarou.
Old man: Patagonia, Manasulu,
He took on many 8000 meter peaks.
And then finally he reached the mountain among mountains, the ice wall unreached
He challenged the K2 East-Face. A great solo climber-----...
Guy: is that person...?
Old man: Yes...
Old man: One year ago today,
Katou Buntarou set foot on the peak of the K2 East-Face.
[He stands there a God.]
can die at the highest place...
Old man: When he reached the peak, he was suffering from heavy altitude
And due to hemmorages in the fundus of the eye, his field of vision was
The scenery he saw even in his dreams for a span of 10 years
was invaded by numerous black splotches.
Buntarou: Ah... [Mirrored]
You, from back then... ["you" mirrored]
You were Rokka...? ["Rokka" mirrored.]
Buntarou: The snow... ["Snow" mirrored]
crystals are... ["are" mirrored]
going South... ["South" inverted]
Old man: On the normal route on the Southeast ridge, the team that withdrew
had left behind a fixed rope.
Old man: With the effects of the ultraviolet rays deteriorating his senses
who knows how much, he bet his life on an unfamiliar rope.
And using the small amount of food supplies and tents left on the route,
he descended the mountain nearly by crawling...
But the price he paid for keeping his life
was too great----...
[He can still...]
Hard-to-clean-text: The immortal Katou Buntarou died.
Old man: ------... The climber that loved only mountains
and bet his entire youth on mountains no longer exists in this world...
[That's that rock Captain Komatsu made him climb.]
[And he has a second child.]
Bottom: (17) Martyr (End)
Sakamoto: From there, the path split in two----. [Big]
The beginning of chapter 1 of the novel "Kokou no Hito".
For four years, I was tormented by those words. And while painful, in the
endgame made a decision. Above all else, since the beginning of serialization,
I was lost as to where to point Katou Buntarou's needle of fate at the
end of the story.
Before a great work supported by so many people, I may have lost my nerve.
The novel Buntarou, just like the historical one, passed away at the young
age of 31 in the dead of winter on Mount Yari.
That last scene was incredibly sad, as well as a moment that nobly sublimated
the hopeless word "isolation". Would being caught in a moment of emotion
and changing that ending mean contaminating the spirit of the original work?
But the Katou Buntarou in the manga "Kokou no Hito" is a man living in the
present era. Although it's a created work, I kept the sense of existence
and reality as important elements.
Actually, the personal life experiences and ways of thinking got sucked
into the manga, and I was visited by a mysterious sensation like I was synchronizing
with Buntarou many times.
Buntarou is alive.
Sakamoto: He bears the same pain we do.
So then Buntarou could not have lived without seeing that day.
Does he not also share responsibility of the Japan that took on the distress
since that day?
My path was chosen.
From here, the paths will probably continue to diverge.
And when those times come, I will probably reach a standstill, anguish,
and make a decision.
And Buntarou, as well, will continue to walk somewhere.
No matter what pain he'll feel, he won't be able to put down his rucksack.
And he'll believe that beyond there, a flower will bloom----
Heisei Year 23 (2011) October 15th
Sakamoto Shinichi [Big]
Top: "Unparalleled Solo Climber" [Top center]
Katou Buntarou [Upper right. It's already romanized so you can just leave it.]
In 1925, while still active, he set foot on the Japanese Alps in the dead of winter alone, leaving undying footprints on the world of mountain climbing. The man, Kaou Buntarou. With his love of isolation and his way of life where he found himself on mountains, he is revered by many. Later, the novelist Nitta Jirou sublimated that life as literature with the novel "Kokou no Hito". And that spirit gave birth to the manga "Kokou no Hito". That spirit still lives on even now. By following the life of that unparalleled solo climber, l'll punctuate the series. [Paragraph on top]
Katou Buntarou Chronology of Challenges
1926 July Northern Alps - Hyouginza~Mount Yari~Mount Maehotaka~Otake~Mount Kisokoma (11 Days - Solo)
1929 January From a Traversal of Yatsugatake Mountain Range Peaks to Mount Norikura (7 Days - Solo)
1931 January Northern Alps - Mount Ueno~Mount Yakushi~Mount Mitsutarirenge~Mount Eboshi~Oomachi (10 Days - Solo)
1931 February Northern Alps - Mount Kashiumayari, Mount Tusurgi, done in one day each (Solo)
1932 February Northern Alps Consecutive Climbing - Mount Yari~Mount Nukedo~Mount Kasa~, Sarukura~Mount Shirouma (10 Days - Solo)
1933 January Summit of Mount Fuji, starting from the Gotemba Entrance (Solo)
1934 April Northern Alps - Mount Maehotaka North Ridge (Partner Yoshida Tomihisa)
1935 January 16th Married Hanako
November His eldest daughter, Toshiko, is born.
1936 January Northern Alps - From Yarimi Onsen to Mount Yari Shoulder Cabin, together with Yoshida Tomihisa, they aimed to go from the peak down the North arete ridge, but never returned.
1936 April Katou and Yoshida's two corpses were found by Matsumoto High School Mountaineering Club Students in Senjyou Valley.
Left Black Bar: "There is value in fighting with all your strength."
Body: "There is value in fighting with all your strength. And being able to stand atop a mountain is just a byproduct of that." Katou Buntarou was a pioneer who climbed and descended many of the Northern Alps 3000 meter peaks in winder, "solo". He didn't simply stand on their peaks, he achieved long traversals and one-day long attacks in the harshness of winter that even in the current age has not been replicated.
He was called the Unparalleled Solo Climber (Alleing粮ger, or Maverick), as well as the isolated (aloof) man. He was thought of as eccentric, and a crank, but he was not so. In the memorial work published after his death, "Solo Climber" (Alleing粮ger/Maverick) contains mountain climbing diaries by Buntarou himself, his thoughts on mountains, about how because climbed mountains while holding a job he got worried when he descended the mountains late, all composed honesty. As well as his coworkers and fellow mountain climbers at his job and his wife Hanako whom he widowed in a little over a year describing what strong intentions he had and what a challenger he was. Giving a genuine view of his personality, how he would go his own path, the way he led his life aloof from the world, his careful integrity to those around him, and how loving and affectionate he was. Recorded overwhelmingly is another serious challenge, pushing to work hard at his occupation. He got married and started a family. When he would take long vacations and get down from the mountains late sometimes, but he was always a good company employee. And he had his eye on the dream of taking on the magnificent Himalayas. He was the type who had intent, effort, and foresight. Katou Buntarou surpassed his generation, and is beloved by modern day climbers.
In January of 1931, entering from the Mount Fuji side he went on a 10-day solo traversal of the central Northern Alps, Mount Ueno~Mount Yakushi~Mount Mitsutarirenge~Mount Eboshi to Oomachi on the Nagano side. In February of the same year, he left Murodou in the dead of winter and rushed up Mount Kashiumayari in 17 hours, creating an amazing record going up and down in one day. In the days when he would typically hire a local guide even for summer mountains for challenging climbs, Buntarou's actions were considered fringe at first; sometimes creating discord with other climbers, but before long the community came to admire him and he became a famous solo climber. These records he made in the dead of winter could not be achieved easily even forming groups 80 years later in the present day. The most amazing are the distances and long hours of movement he could do in a single day. But he would say things like "When the snow stops falling, the temperature goes down and the blue sky peeks out from the thin cirrostratus clouds, it's a good time to start climbing. If you can't see the sky it'll get stormy again." and "Even on days with good weather where a lot of wind hits the West shoulder of Yari, the temperature won't rise, and it won't melt just like the East slope.", showing his sharp eye for weather and mountains. In the earlier age of mountain climbing they had poor equipment, and had meager food supplies they could use and data on predicting the weather. Means of communication like wireless radios and cell phones did not exist either. Among nature on a severe snowy mountain, he had that discerning eye and spirituality to take on the challenge alone. In the 1930's, an age when there generally wasn't anyone who did any winter climbs of tall mountains, they didn't carry luggage up in advance, and to do these record-setting climbs alone was surprising to say the least.
In 4 years and a few months years starting in 1930, he challenged many snowy mountains solo, did long solo climbs on winter mountains, and learned about doing long-range journeys, but Buntarou also started to hike, ski, and climb with friends. Also, he would go rock climbing with his fellow climbers, and would talk about how important it was to learn techniques for adapting with snow and ice. And how he likely thought about for the next dream he held close to his heart, taking on the challenge of the Himalayas, he would need skills for dealing with ice and snow and the effectiveness forming a party would have towards that dream.
Though he did winter mountain solo climbs, actually most people couldn't keep up with Buntarou's stamina and would shrink back from invitations to extremely long courses of winter mountains. More so than seeking solo records, there were reasons that they ended up as solo challenges.
Seeking challenges from snowy mountains and aiming for climbing icy rock ridges, Buntarou sought out the incredibly skilled Yoshida Tomihisa as a partner. The two of them successfully climbed from the Mount Maehotaka North Ridge to the peak of Mount Okuhotaka in April of 1934. At that time among the bad weather, Yoshida, whom had taken the lead, said "It's because both of us worked so hard during the bad times." and suffered frostbite. But Buntarou said "That's right. It's because we have that spirit that we're able to successfully climb mountains.
No matter what adversity we stand against, we'll never lose this will." As someone that had strong feelings beyond just great ability, Yoshida was a good partner to Buntarou.
In November of 1935, he married Hanako and they had a daughter named Toshiko. The next January he had planned to tackle the long anticipated Mount Yari Northern arete ridge with Yoshida. But the day before they left, "Sitting under a warm kotatsu like this makes going to a mountain seem like an arduous task." Leaving his wife , young daughter, and warm household behind, Buntarou reluctantly headed out to the winter mountain.
At Mount Yari the two met their comrads Ookubo and Hama, and continued together. From the 2nd to 3rd day, they all climbed to the summit, and Ookubo and Hama descended. On the afternoon of the 3rd day, Buntarou and Yoshida went down the North arete and went into an attack to go back up. But it turned into a blizzard, and on the 4th day Ookubo and Hama went back to the Mount Yari shoulder cabin. They waited there for the 5th and 6th days, but the other two didn't come back. On the 7th day, the two of then went down the mountain and filed the first report of an accident.
In the search that immediately followed, there was a break in the path made through the snow 10 meters below the peak, and the estimated that the two climbers had fallen into the Senjou valley. Because it was a season with deep snow, the search was halted.
On the morning of January 6th, at her bedside, Hanako had heard the words "Is your body feeling all right? As long as you're feeling well, everything is okay." that Buntarou left her with. And she had said she was awoken by Toshiko's crying voice.
In April, the bodies of the two climbers were found in Senjou valley by the Matsumoto High School Mountaineering Club. They fell from just above the peak, and at a distance of some several kilometers in deep snow, the two tried to help each other and descend. Before long, Yoshida could no longer move. Buntarou stood his ice axe in the snow to use as a landmark. In order to return alive and seek help, he kept moving until the end, and his body flowed a further 200 meters downward before expiring. He kept walking through the snow to try to survive, and those were the last moments of the solo climber Katou Buntarou.
Quotes 1~3 are from "Dandokukou" (Solo Climb)
Quotes 4~7 from "Reminiscense of Katou Buntarou - The Indomidable, fortuitous Mountaineer"