Some of the most mysterious places on Earth are the most beautiful. One such beauty lies in the Woods of Aokhigahara, Japan. The thronging trees of the forest and Mount Fiji crowning it at its back make the views truly enchanting. The lushness of the forest has earned itself the name, ‘Sea of trees’. A wondrous looking place, a popular tourist camp, and a famous ‘Suicide” destination. Yes, I am talking about real suicide. Quite fascinatingly, Japan is well-known for the highest number of young suicides in the country. According to the recent survey, the numbers have shot up to as high as 24,000 by the year 2016. And somehow, 70% of people have chosen the Aokigahara forests to die. A suicide survivor wrote, ‘they chose this place as they wanted to share it with others and they belong to the group’.
Why would anyone want to kill themselves in such a beauty of a place? Another survivor said,’ this place is in such an isolation and quiet that nobody would notice and they will be able to kill themselves successfully’.
Look at some of the spine-chilling facts about the Aokigahara Suicide Forest, and don’t even dare get motivated!
THE JAPANESE TRADITION OF SUICIDE SPEARHEADS THE SUICIDE RATES
Death by your own hands is not new to the Japanese culture. Seppuku-the samurai tradition of inflicting death to oneself was considered an Honourable ritual during the feudal era. Though the practice is no more alive, traces have been followed along. Yoshinori Cho, a Japanese author said,” Suicide is viewed as taking the responsibility of your death, which was the theme of the Seppuku culture”.
JAPAN TOPS IN THE HIGHEST NUMBER OF SUICIDE RATES, EVERY YEAR
The suicide numbers force its way to a new high every year. In 2009 alone, suicides recorded was 2645. The reasons are attributed to mental health and family issues and more often to the financial crisis. The suicide rate increases during the end of the financial year. One of the suicide survivors said to CNN,” my will to live ended, losing my job and financial crisis made me think to end my life, you need money to survive”.
THE GOVT. WENT AHEAD TO PUT UP SIGNBOARDS AND POSTS TO PREVENT IT
Signboards and positive posts are put up along the entrance of the forest urging the suicide-minded to prevent it. Signboards like, ‘Life is a precious gift from your parents’ and ‘please reach out and do not suffer alone, ask for help’, all in Japanese.
THE BOOKS AND FILMS ARE BLAMED FOR MOST OF THE DOINGS
A popular novel in 1960 by a Japanese author Seicho Matsumoto wherein the love-stricken heroine goes into the forest to kill herself, has been found in possession of many of the suicide-doers. Also, the 2016 American horror film, ‘The forest’, about a woman who heads to the forest to look for her twin sister who mysteriously disappeared in the forest, has been banned and often are related to being negatively influencing the Japanese people.
ANNUAL SEARCHES ARE DONE THRICE IN THE FOREST
Many local government officials and local volunteers have come forward in carrying out searches and talking out positivity to young people. Since 1970, at least of 3 searches are carried out yearly to find lost bodies or remains in an attempt to return them to families for a proper burial.
THERE IS AN UNBEATABLE PIN-DROP SILENCE IN THE FOREST
The science experts discovered that the strong magnetic content of the lava from Mount Fiji absorbs all the possible sound waves making the dense forest as quiet as it can be. The quietness will seem as someone has been into a vacuum and it is scary.
THE FOREST MAY BE HAUNTED
Ubasute, a dark bequest which was an uncommon part of the Japanese tradition-follows the abandoning of old people in the forest and isolated places at times of acute famine in order to lessen the burden of feeding. People would die of dehydration and starvation. Suicide could possibly be an age-old practice of Japan. It is believed by the locals that the Yurei-the ghosts of Ubasute haunts the place in vengeance and drives people towards the extreme step.
FOREST IS SO DENSE THAT TOURIST USE TAPE OR MARKS ON THE TREES TO AVOID GETTING LOST
Although the forest is rightfully pathed and signposts are put up urging tourists to stay on the path, the chances become high for the adventurers and wanderers to go off-beat. Many tourists tape themselves or tie ribbons on the trees to find their way out. The magnetic field is so strong that your phones will go off-network for any call for help.
A VLOGGER WAS DEEPLY CRITICISED FOR POSTING IMAGES OF THE DEAD
A YouTube star Logan Paul posted a video with a dead body hanging from a tree which created a worldwide criticism and a counterattack from Japanese population for its heartless treatment of the dead, in a country which has the highest number of suicides amongst the developed world. The vlogger later pleaded apology and said it was never a monetizing action.
YOU ARE SURE TO FIND AT LEAST ONE DEAD BODY IN YOUR VISIT
The suicide rate is over 100 every year in this forest and you are sure to find one dead body or the remains in your visit. Famed for its suicide numbers which shoot up every year gets more and spookier if you dare to explore its deep.