Saturday, June 19, 2010

Aokigahara

I came across this, and of course had to dive head first into it. Here are some articles I found, and OF COURSE, pictures. Every article had the same images, so there aren't too many that I found that were different.

What Niagra Falls is to weddings, Aokigahara is to suicides. This place makes The Blair Witch Project look like Winnie the Pooh's Hundred Acre Wood.
The trees are reportedly so thick, that even at high noon it is hard to find places that aren't completely surrounded by darkness.



Called "the perfect place to die," the Aokigahara forest has the unfortunate distinction as the world's second most popular place to take one's life. (The first is the Golden Gate Bridge.)(And my sister wants to visit and even have her ashes scattered there. Freako)



Since the 1950s, Japanese businessmen have wandered in, and at least 500 of them haven't wandered out, at an increasing rate of between 10 and 30 suicides per year. Recently these numbers have increased even more, with a record 78 bodies in 2002.



Japanese spiritualists believe that the suicides committed in the forest have permeated Aokigahara's trees, generating paranormal activity and preventing many who enter from escaping the forest's depths. Complicating matters further is the common experience of compasses being rendered useless by the rich deposits of magnetic iron in the area's volcanic soil.

Due to the vastness of the forest, desperate visitors are unlikely to encounter anyone once inside the so-called "Sea of Trees," so the police have left signs reading "Your life is a precious gift from your parents," and "Please consult the police before you decide to die!" mounted on trees throughout.


Contemporary news outlets noted the recent spike in suicides in the forest, blamed more on Japan’s economic downturn than on the romantic ending of Seicho Matsumoto’s novel Kuroi Jukai, which revitalized the so-called Suicide Forest’s popularity among those determined to take their final walk. (The novel culminates in Aokigahara as the characters are driven to joint-suicide.)

Locals say they can easily spot the three types of visitors to the forest: trekkers interested in scenic vistas of Mount Fuji, the curious hoping for a glimpse of the macabre, and those souls who don’t plan on returning. (I totally love the use of the word 'macabre')

What those hoping to take their lives may not consider is the impact the suicides have on the locals and forest workers. In the words of one local man, "It bugs the hell out of me that the area's famous for being a suicide spot." And a local police officer said, "I've seen plenty of bodies that have been really badly decomposed, or been picked at by wild animals... There's nothing beautiful about dying in there."

The forest workers have it even worse then the police. The workers must carry the bodies down from the forest to the local station, where the bodies are put in a special room used specifically to house suicide corpses. The forest workers then play jan-ken-pon - which English-speakers call rock, paper, scissors - to see who has to sleep in the room with the corpse. (I guess the "Big Bang Theory's" RockPaperScissorLizardSpock is out of the question..)

It is believed to be very bad luck if the corpse is left alone, for the "yurei" (ghost) of the suicide will scream through the night, and the body will move itself on its own.
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The forest floor consists primarily of volcanic rock and is difficult to penetrate with hand tools such as picks or shovels. There are also a variety of unofficial trails that are used semi-regularly for the annual "body hunt" done by local volunteers, who mark their search areas with plastic tape. The plastic tape is never removed, so a great deal of it litters the first kilometer of the forest, past the designated trails leading to tourist attractions such as the Ice Cave and Wind Cave. After the first kilometer into Aokigahara towards Mount Fuji, the forest is in a much more pristine state, with little to no litter and few obvious signs of human contact.
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5 comments:

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Cindy Dy said...



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ker
www.gofastek.com

Cindy Dy said...



Thank you for this post. Keep it up. Hope to read more post from you guys.

ker
www.gofastek.com

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