Rock climbing and bouldering aren’t really the first sports we associate with junior high and high school students. For some reason, they just seem more like recreational college activities to be enjoyed between rounds of beer while camping—or maybe we were just doing it wrong? Regardless, when we think of climbing superstars, we have to admit that high school students aren’t what spring to mind. At least not until now!
A new commercial, released earlier this month for Plala Mobile’s unlimited mobile Internet featuring one young climbing hero, has already racked up over 1.4 million views and has definitely changed our perception of what a climbing hero looks like!
The commercial bears the English title “Japanese high-school girl who is late for school take the surprised way…!!!” Despite the excessive number of exclamation marks and somewhat awkward English, the video is sure to be memorable for viewers. It starts simply enough with a girl in a high school uniform staring at her school before jogging to one of its outer walls and scaling it freehand. After working through a series of holds, grips, and lifts, the high school student finds herself at the third floor before the video stops due to the viewer apparently using up her monthly allocation of data.
At this point, it should be obvious that this is just a commercial, but it hardly undermines Miwa Oba’s skillful climb up the side of the building!
Now 17 years old, Miwa, called by some a “climbing genius,” actually started climbing when she was nine years old and won a national youth climbing competition when she was only 13! At 14, she won an Asia youth competition, and the next year she took third prize at a world youth competition. Needless to say, Miwa is a pretty phenomenal climber and she’s been selected as Japan’s representative to a world competition.
The young climber is obviously quite dedicated to the sport, and she even has a climbing wall at home to train on. And in order to develop the strength to support her body weight with the first joints of her fingers, she does finger pull-ups. She also has a gripping power of 40 kilograms (about 88 pounds), which is apparently 1.5 times that of most women in her age group.
Miwa is obviously exceptionally talented and has incredible promise, but she’s not the only one! Climbing has seen something of a surge in popularity in Japan recently, with numerous climbing centers having appeared all over Tokyo, for example. It’s even been suggested for possible inclusion in the 2020 Summer Olympics!
So, keep your eyes open, folks; you might be seeing Miwa in more than commercials soon!