Toru Nakajima. Bell ringing anyone? Well, it should really. This 16 year old shocked the UK grit scene in August/September last year when he, aged 15 at the time, off season really, did three E9's, one of which, Black out, was a FA. The story doesn't end here however. By chance, I discovered Grit isn't all he's good at... Here's a short interview with the Japanese prodigy, who's yet to get his first sponsor!
First a few facts. Hardest sportclimb? Metaforce, 8c/+ Hardest boulder; Huminshou 5dan (harder than Bansousha 8B/V13) [which he has done too] Hardest traditional: E9 (Black Out, Meshuga, Nocturnal Emission)
How would you describe yourself? Diligent student!
How and when did you first start climbing? When I was 4 years old, my father took me to the climbing gym.
Do you practice any other sports? No I don`t.
Although you're still very young, you are alredy an extremely competent climber: V13, 8c+, E9, and it doesn't matter if it's a slab or very steep. How do you explain this? I wanted to try all types of climbing, and there is a good bouldering area near my home (2 hours drive).
Which ascent are you the most proud of? Black Out of course!
Is there any type of climbing you prefer? Why? Traditional climbing and bouldering. Becauce it is not a good style to put up bolts.
How do you train and how often? I climb outdoors two days per week, and climb indoors two or three days per week.
Most of us in Europe and the US don't know so much about the Japanese climbing scene. Can you tell us a little bit about it? There's mostly sports climbing but also some trad. Bouldering is very popular. There's a variaty of rock types: granite, limestone, tuff and other. Hardest climbing: Sport climbing: 9a+. Crack climbing: 8b+ Boulder:8C or 8C+. Face climbing with trad gear: 8b Multi pitch: 8a/b
Do you plan to come back to Europe or go to the US? I hope so, but I don't have enough money!
Any goals for the future? I want to climb all around the world.
Who are your sponsors? I don't have any sponsors.
Photos from Nakajima coll. 1: Meta force, 8c/+ 2: Kakusei, ungraded but harder than 8B 3: Mizuchi, 8A+, FA