I didn’t know him personally, but I was rather shocked when I found out about his death. Kazumasa Yoshida is a Japanese climber, who loved trad climbing, and sort of well-known as a little eccentric character among Japanese climbers. He died of illness last year.


He was a middle age guy, living in a car, with a cat. Many years ago, he tried to recruit a belayer for 3,000 yen (for one belay, or one day, I don’t know) which created a controversy in the climbing world. He had a website, and he offered climbing classes.


About 3 years ago, a friend of mine (female climber) took his one day course a couple of times and then asked him to arrange a climbing class in Hokkaido (about 1000km to the north of Tokyo) for two ladies. They flew to Hokkaido, and on the first day, my friend and Mr. Yoshida had a fight. He did not like the way she climbed (or did not climb), and openly blamed her for lack of motivation. She was upset, he was mad, and that was it. He said he is not going to teach her climbing, but he won’t charge any fee for the first day and subsequent days. The next day, the two ladies went to a different crag on their own. When I heard about the incident, I thought he might be a difficult person.


Then, two male climbers I was befriended with told me Mr. Yoshida is nice and sweet. He taught them how to lead a crack route. (Jamming is the key for success!) The mentor knew a lot about muscles, tendons, ligaments (anatomy of a climber’s body) and he sometimes gave them a massage. They unanimously said Mr. Yoshida is a good person.


I thought someday I will take his class and find the truth myself. The opportunity was lost forever, that is pretty sad.




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