Manaslu 1952-3, by members of the Japanese Manaslu Expeditions. 217 pages in Japanese, 17 pages in English, with 124 photographs, 4 sketch maps, and 13 illustrations. Tokyo: The Mainichi Newspapers, 1954.
During the past three years, Manaslu has quickly gained the status of a “Japanese” mountain: Japan’s bid for an eight- thousand meter peak. This year, with a bigger, more experienced, and better equipped expedition, Japanese climbers would most certainly have claimed Manaslu’s summit but for the bellig- erance of local Nepalese tribes, which forced the expedition’s diversion to Genesh Himal. The stories of the first two expeditions, the 1952 reconnaissance and the 1953 assault, are now recounted in diary form by members of the two teams. Three men of the 1953 assault party succeeded in pushing their way to 7,750 meters, only 350 meters from the top, before they were forced back by weather conditions and exhaustion. Judging from translations given the reviewer by Japanese friends, the subjective approach of the Japanese to mountaineering, as expressed here, possesses a lyric quality characteristic of their art and literature and somewhat resembles European accounts at about the beginning of the century.
The appendix will particularly interest devotees of Himalayan expeditions. It comprises more than half the text and describes in detail their equipment, food, planning, and botanical collections. It also includes a complete chart of movements of men on the mountain, several maps, and lists of equipment and food— complete to “Japanese fan” and “salted squid.” The 124 photographs are good in any language, but the reader will need a command of Japanese for the rest of the book. English is used only in a brief account of the two expeditions, a list of photographic captions, and the food and equipment lists.