• Kyodo News

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Masayoshi Murayama, who was a member of the first Japanese expedition to reach the South Pole in 1968, died of prostate cancer Sunday at a hospital in Tokyo, his family said. He was 88.

Murayama participated in the first Japanese attempt to reach the South Pole in 1956. He joined expeditions seven times in all, serving three times as winter expedition team leader.

He and 11 other members of an expedition finally reached the South Pole in 1968, the first Japanese team to do so.

Murayama also headed a team that in 1959 rescued two dogs — Taro and Jiro — from the Showa Base that the first team was forced to abandon.

The story of the dogs’ rescue became the basis of the hit film “Nankyoku Monogatari” (“Antarctica”) in 1983.

Before joining the South Pole teams, Murayama joined three expeditions to Mount Manaslu in the Himalayas between 1953 and 1956. He also served as professor emeritus at the National Institute of Polar Research in Tokyo.

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