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Keita Mogaki

Name: Keita Mogaki
Born: Chiba, 14.12.1981
Living in: Chiba, Japan (in the neighbours of Tokyo)
Height: 168cm
Weight: 58kg
Job: climber
Began Climbing: 1994
Best Onsight (sport climbing): 8a+
Best Flash (Sport climbing): 8a+
Hardest Redpoint: 8c+ Logical Progression Jouyama Japan
Best flash (bouldering): V11 Sun spot(RMNP), V11 The Warm tarn (Joe's Valley)
Hardest boulder: V12 Mandala (Buttermilks)
Favourite climbing style: overhangs, flash bouldering
Favourite sport climbing crag: Arco (Italy)
Favourite bouldering spot: RMNP (Colorado, USA)
Favourite Route: HonkyTonky 8C Oñate
Favourite Boulder Problem: Mandala V12
Competition Results: 3rd place in Worldcup - Shenzen (CHN) 2003 Lead
3rd place in Worldcup - Edinburgh (GBR) 2003 boulder
1st place in AsianX Game (KOR) 2005 boulder
2nd place send fest (USA) 2005 boulder

Favourite drink: Orange juice, Japanese Plum liqueur
Favourite meal: Potato chips, chocolate, a pudding
Hobby: Snowboarding, movie appreciation, reading, sk8, trips
Website: -


Keita Mogaki interview by Daniel Vecchiato © all rights reserved


FreakClimbing interviews are back!
The gang moved to Japan this time on the steps of Keita!!

Hey Keita, nice to meet you! Well let's get a sake together!
Sounds good! There are a lot of delicious Sake and delicious traditional dishes in Japan, and there is a restaurant where we can enjoy them together! Let's go this time by all means!

Is it true that you are so strong because you eat a lot of sushi and drink sake?!?
Probably it is true! But sushi is seldom eaten with an expensive meal in Japan. I like sake. There are a lot of local breweries in Japan. Please go to test them when all of you came to Japan. Plum liqueur in particular is recommended!

Is climbing a big sport in Japan?
No. It is more minor sports in Japan. However, I think that it is attracting more interest everyday!

What is more popular in Japan: climbing or bouldering?
I think that bouldering is more popular: it's simple and it is easier when you begin. But routes are more popular for more mature climbers. Japan is an island and therefore we don't have so much land, therefore we have less rock resources compared with Europe, and one of our problems is that the crags can be overcrowded.

Keita Mogaki - Ph: ©Keita Mogaki collection
Keita Mogaki - Ph: ©Keita Mogaki collection

What about your World Championship performance: you were first after the qualifying round!!
I trained really hard in order to compete in this World Championship and made the final. I have been really honoured to achieve the final because it is not really straightforward to get there: isn't it? I was in a good shape and the atmosphere was brilliant. The problems of the semi-final were really suitable even for a "small-size" Japanese. Furthermore, I got in a good rhythm and things got easy. Maybe some problems were harder for a standard "tall-European"! I've been really happy with my results, even if I would have been even happier if other members of my team (Japan) would have got into the final. Nevertheless, my happiness has been even greater because I don't take part in all World Cup legs, so for some time I wasn't competing at this level.

And what did happened in the final?
I do not understand it either. But I was not able to get into a rhythm of good success in the finals. Maybe my performance in the semi-final had been too good and unexpected even for me! Somehow, I felt not completely strong from my psychological side: there was a really high pressure for me. A lot of friends and climbers supported me by net broadcast in Japan and this time I didn't accomplish their expectations.

Is it difficult for you to come and compete in the Bouldering World Cup, or do you get support from your sponsors?
I take assistance from a sponsor and an association, but I am not perfect.

I know you travel quite a lot and you have been in the USA recently: what did you do there?
Yes. I loveit when I go abroad and I can gain much stimulation there. There were two big reasons why I went to U.S.A.: firstly I wanted to take part in the SEND FEST,secondly I wanted to go bouldering in Colorado.

What about the Sendfest down there in the USA?
I did my last American tour with some Japanese friends. Chris Sharma won the SEND FEST and I came second: this event gathered a lot of top climbers, and it has been very exciting. Therefore I've been really happy to come second! I had Daniel and Ben, and in addition a large number of country people to be nice to you in Colorado. However, I want to come back to Colorado soon, because during this trip I didn't manage a V13 that I was aiming to.


Keita Mogaki on Total Eclipes, 8A+ - Fontainebleau (France)
Keita Mogaki on Total Eclipes, 8A+ - Fontainebleau (France)

Do you combine martial art techniques with climbing in your training?
No I don't do it. None of the climbers I know does this in Japan!

Is the oriental approach any different from the western one with regard to climbing both in training and rock?
I do not know most of the training methods of the western ways, but I think that most climbers climb this way in Japan. In the main training is difficult in a gym, I set a problem to have a shot at it and try it. I sometimes do lead climbing. It is common in Japan to climb in an indoor gym.


Keita Mogaki on Mandala
Keita Mogaki on The Mandala, V12
Ph: ©Keita Mogaki collection

What's more important for you when you chose a boulder problem on rock?

I think that the most important thing is to do the problem that oneself wants to do. I think that grade is important, but with that alone you cannot choose.

From a western side, when oriental people climb they always make strange sounds! What the hell do you say?!?
I do not understand it either, but when a Japanese supports another climber, we say Gamba!

Yuji Hirayama moved to Europe in order to pursue his climbing objectives, are you planning the same?
It is very attractive, but a lot of work and money are necessary to carry it out. I think that it is not yet possible for me at present.

Do you think that it is important to travel "West" in order to get a comparison on some classic boulder problems?
It thinks that it is really important to do it for an Oriental top climber and think that all are what I practice. I think that many Japanese climbers are interested in hard western benchmark problems. They have to tell everybody what kind of feelings the problems they tried/did transmitted to them. Everybody will then get psyched by these experiences.

What about bouldering outdoors in Japan?
We don't have the same amount of rock you guys have in the western world, but we still have some high quality spots. There is the rock which Dai Koyamada reclaimed in a place named Shiobara, and there is a perfect roof like a rock of Esperanza at Hueco here. There are going to be a hard problems mostly new now in Japan. Then there is the area where a very difficult problem was even on a Slab. Japan is small, but there is rock of various kinds.

Your next dream?
I want to be concerned with climbing with a healthy body throughout my life.
I want to become the climber who can play an active part both in bouldering and sport climbing.

Keita, just one last question! Is it true that you have such strong fingers because you eat every day with chopsticks?!?
Of course!! This is our secret! Everybody uses chopsticks, even to eat pasta and pizza!! No man, I'm joking! However, a Japanese is very skillful with their hands. I do not understand whether it is useful for climbing, but…. who knows!


Cheeeeeeeeeers Keita! And... be careful with SAKE!!!

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