Living up to the Japan-quality.
The efficacy of NANGA's custom-made down one-piece suit
that earned the approval of a mountaineer.

At 34 years of age, Takero Nakajima is a mountaineer and mountain cameraman. Entrusted with his workmanship, Nakajima has accompanied many challenges attempted by Hirotaka Takeuchi––the first Japanese to climb all 14 peaks of the eight-thousanders––to document the climbing expeditions. Meanwhile, Takero himself received the 26th Piolet d'Or award in 2017 for his ascent of the unexplored route on the northeast face of Shispare with Kazuya Hiraide. It is clear that Nakajima has steadily made his mark in the mountaineering world.
"I think the reason I climb mountains is that there are landscapes up there that no one has ever seen before. Film and photography are tools that allow me to share with many people the landscapes and expressions of nature that present themselves in the world of high altitudes. I carry my equipment and climb mountains in the hope of capturing what I have seen and experienced."
Takero has climbed three peaks of the eight-thousanders, and he says that his experiences there were special–the gradient colors that appear in the sky before the sun rises or after sunset and the rock surfaces illuminated by the moonlight. Imagine the rich and delectable taste of the soup savored upon returning to the base camp after an excruciating and exhausting climb.
"I have photographs of myself captured in scenes from these experiences hanging in my home. My wife selected them to be printed and gifted them to me on my birthday. Whether it's photography or the mountains, it's reassuring to have someone who understands you stand by your side.
As surprising as it may seem, NANGA's first encounter with Mr. Nakajima is fairly recent.

The potential of down experienced in Aconcagua

"It all began in 2017 when I went on an expedition to Pakistan with Mr. Hiraide, who had on a down one-piece suit. I owned a suit for climbing Mt. Everest, but his was a simpler, lighter version with less down designed for 7,000-meter altitudes. It looked very comfortable, and when I asked him about it, he said it was custom-made. Ever since then, I've wanted to have the opportunity to make something like that somewhere."
Last year, he was introduced to NANGA by Yasuhiro Hanatani, a fellow climber. The first thing he requested was the down suit in the photo. The suit was worn for the first time in January of this year when he went to Aconcagua, the highest peak in South America, to support Yuichiro Miura in his challenge.
"On the last day, I wore it all day long during the summit push. I had only used a down one-piece in environments above 8,000 meters, but this one was light and easy to move in and was very effective for the final push at 7,000 meters. And the suit kept me warm despite its lightweight construction. I was keenly intrigued by the endless potential of down and the technical capabilities of the Japanese brand that was able to finish the suit in less than a month after taking my measurements."
Of course, there is still room for improvement in terms of usability. Hiroyuki Kuraoka's design, which was based on specifications compatible with Mt. Everest, was a bit too much for the minimalist Nakajima. Nonetheless, designing the product to your preferred specs and details through close communication with the people in charge is also a fun and exciting process.
"My body's extremities tend to suffer from the cold, so what I really want is a pair of special down gloves. I'm hoping for miracle gloves that are light, warm, and allows me to manipulate tedious tasks. Maybe one of these days?"
As for his future activities, Nakajima says he would like to set his sights on the unexplored variation of the K2 route, which he scouted last year.
"The K2 variation is so difficult that we haven't even figured out what we're missing yet, but we'd like to make preparations little by little and make it happen. Well, I suppose if we had down gloves that are light, warm, and allows me to manipulate tedious tasks, we might be able to make it happen (laughs)."

KENRO NAKAJIMA / 中島健郎 (ナカジマ・ケンロウ)


Born in Nara Prefecture in 1984. Kenro became familiar with mountains in Nara Prefecture, where he was born and raised. After entering Kwansei Gakuin University, he joined the mountaineering club. He climbed two virgin peaks while in school. After graduating, he worked as a tour guide for overseas trekking and mountaineering tours and also started his career as a cameraman. He participated as a cameraman in the TV program, "Sekai no Hate Made Itte Q! (世界の果てまでイッテQ!)" and documented many mountaineering expeditions, including Mt. McKinley and Mt. Everest challenges. In 2017, he successfully ascended a never-before-attempted route on the northeast face of Shispare in Pakistan, which won him the 26th Piolet d'Or Award and the 12th Piolet d'Or Asia Award.