Suicide Forest in Japan

The forest by the name of Aokigahara or popularly known as the suicide forest is located at base of Mount Fuiji in Japan. The forest is special for a very high density of trees, two caves (the Ice Cave and the Wind Cave), the lack of wildlife which makes this forest a very quiet place and, strangely, the number one spot for suicide in Japan. Besides Japan, Aokigahara is among top three of the most popular suicide spots in the world. These statistics and the quietness of the forest both created the idea that the area is haunted.

There have been so many suicides in this forest that it is not a shocker for the innocent walkers to discover skeletons. According to police retrieves dozens of bodies every year from the forest and the authorities believe there are numerous undiscovered corpses lying underground. The exact number of suicides is unknown although in 2003 it was made public that 105 confirmed suicides took place in Aokigahara. Some evidence suggest that the dark history of the suicide forest begun as early as the 19th century. That is when Japanese practiced ubasute. Ubasute was a practice of carrying elders to desolate place to die as a form of euthanasia. The Aokigahara was one of the most popular places for this practice. Some believe the forest is haunted by angry spirits yurei of those who were left there to die. According to, it became popular again after the novel “Tower of Waves” by Seicho Matsumoto was published in 1960’s. The plot of the novel followed a couple who commit suicide in the Aokigahara forest. In 1993, another book “The Complete Manual of Suicide” by Wataru Tsurumi fueled the increase of suicide rate in the woods.

Nowadays, the authorities are aware of dangers of suicides once people enter the forest. This is why there are signs in both Japanese and English all through the woods with messages to try and prevent suicides. One message reads: “Your life is something precious that was given to you by your parents.” Officials are encouraging suicidal people to seek help and not to take their lives because the truth is, suicide is a serious issue and we should all remember that we are all worthy even if we do not see it currently.

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