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NAOYUKI KOBAYASHI

Homage to a highland shrine

by Martin Webb

Fifteen years ago, photographer Naoyuki Kobayashi was on a joint Chinese-Japanese mountaineering expedition in the Himalayas when an avalanche took the lives of 17 of his fellow climbers. He has been returning to the Meili Snow Mountain, where the tragedy occurred, ever since, in a dogged search for the bodies of his missing friends.

After living in a village on a glacier at the foot of the mountain and roaming its slopes for years, Kobayashi probably knows the peak as well as anyone else alive.

Meili Snow Mountain is the site of Kang Karpo Peak, which towers 6,740 meters above sea level in southwest China’s Yunnan province. The people of Tibet regarded Meili Snow Mountain as the most sacred mountain in the world and, lying as it does within the “Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas,” the territory has been a designated UNESCO World Heritage site since 2003.

Kobayashi’s exhaustive photographic documentation of the six years he spent on Meili, its stunning scenery and the people who live in its shadow, is on show at Marunouchi’s Nature Info Plaza in Tokyo until Friday, June 30.

The exhibition runs till June 30, open Monday to Saturday from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. at Nature Info Plaza, 1F Shin Yurakucho Building, 1-12-1, Yurakucho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo. Admission is free.