Joanne Carroll
07:00, Dec 21 2018

A Japanese man has conquered Aoraki/Mt Cook in his bid to climb the highest peak in every country involved in the Rugby World Cup.

Sohki Nagasawa quit his job as a system engineer to become the 'Rugby Mountaineer'.
The 34-year-old climbed to the summit of Mt Cook holding a rugby ball and dressed in the Japanese rugby strip last Sunday.

"I have been climbing up highest peaks in the 25 countries which have been in the Rugby World Cup before.

Mt Cook, which is 3724 metres high, was the 16th highest peak he has reached. Others he has conquered includes the 6961m Aconcagua in Argentina and the 4810m Mont Blanc in France.

"Now I am on the way to Australia, Fiji, Samoa and Tonga. Then I will finish the project by climbing Mt Fuji in Japan just before the Rugby World Cup 2019 kicks off."

Nagasawa will travel to Canada, America, Georgia and Russia before tackling Mt Fuji.

He scores a try on each mountain by touching his rugby ball to the highest point.

Nagasawa said he took inspiration from the emblem for the next world cup, which depicts Mt Fuji at sunrise.

"It seemed that the design was trying [to put a] rugby ball on the summit of Mt Fuji. Then I imagined that the story of the emblem can be made [a reality]. After I circled all over the world, finally I will climb Mt Fuji," he said.

He said his project aimed to show respect to the countries that made up the history and tradition of the Rugby World Cup.

To him, rugby and climbing were similar in that those involved needed to have courage to be successful.

"Climbing is similar to meditation. It seems to act to visualise the strength of my prayer.

"I hope Japan national team will proceed to the final game and play against New Zealand," he said.