A well-known Chinese writer with some controversial views on education got into dire straits in September after attempting to climb Mount Fuji with his children. The purpose of the climb was a combination of a strict education regiment and as a way to promote Chinese patriotism.
Unaware that the climbing season ended at the end of August, they were turned back short of the summit, but not before being given extra clothing by a Japanese first aid officer.
He Lie Sheng, known to fans as “Eagle Dad,” is a celebrity who deals with the controversial trend of “hawk-style education” in China. Modeled after the Spartan lifestyle, children are subjected to extreme conditions. Critics label it as “child abuse” and “shameless.”
Being the counterparts to the more well-known tiger moms who push their children to excel in academics, Eagle Dad He Lie Sheng takes the concept to new heights, such as stripping his four year old son down to his underwear and making him walk and do push-ups along a snow covered street in New York.
Eagle Dad arrived in Japan with his four-year old son and daughter on 27 September. Together they started their ascent of Fuji the next morning dressed in Chinese flag patterned clothing and a banner reading “I climbed Mt Fuji! Strong Children, Strong China!”.
However, unaware that the climbing season is from July to the end of August they found that the cabin stations which usually provide food were closed leaving them with snacks like buns and chocolate to eat.
Also as they got near the eighth station their patriotic clothing proved unsuitable for the near freezing temperatures and onset of rain. The children began to experience fatigue and altitude sickness as well.
Arriving at the eighth station an Japanese first aid officer gave the children hats and mittens and told them to turn back while it was still daylight being “too dangerous to continue.”
After the incident, Eagle Dad praised his children saying “They had been subjected to rigorous training since childhood. They have a strong will and pain threshold compared to other children their age.
This climb was for patriotism. I was really tired but while walking my [four year old] son took my hand and said ‘The Diaoyu [Senkaku] Islands belong to China” as we walked. It encouraged me. They walked on their own feet until the end.”
■ Another Adventure of Eagle Dad and Doudou on the high seas.