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The Aokigahara Forest
At the base of Mount Fuji is a forest that has gone from being a beacon of sheer beauty and splendor to an area of great horror and tragedy. This place is Aokigahara; otherwise known as the suicide forest of Japan.
*Disclaimer: The stories, views and opinions in this article are not for the impressionable or faint of heart.*
Less than one hundred miles west of Tokyo lies a forest at the base of Mount Fuji masked in legend, lore and an eerie silence. Locally, it is known as Jukai, which translates into "Sea of Trees." In 864 Mount Fuji erupted violently sending a cascade of hot, molten lava trickling down its sides leaving a path of devastation in its wake. Jukai grew up through that dried lava into a densely packed forest. Although the forest itself is not very big, only around fourteen square miles, because of this high density of trees and dark areas since the sun does not penetrate deeply inside the forest, many people who venture inside get lost in the twists and turns never to find the way out again. Could this be the reason so many people view this as the best place to escape everyday life? Could a forest itself truly hide you from the reality you are scared to face? Is this forest truly tainted with demons, ghosts and lore? See for yourself as we dive deeper into the Jukai.
The Beginning Of The Legend
Aokigahara is shrouded in mystery and lore. It all started in 1960 when Seicho Matsumoto published a novel by the name of Kuroi Kaiju. The book was a love story between a beautiful young lady and the most handsome young man she had ever known. As love stories go, this one has a tragic ending when the couple decides to end there lives. The place they chose is none other than Aokigahara. No true blame can be placed on this book though because the suicides in Aokigahara started long before this book was written.
Then in 1993, Wataru Tsurumui’s published the bestseller entitled "The Complete Suicide Manual." is a book that describes various modes of suicide and even recommends Aokigahara as the perfect place to die. Apparently this book is also a common find in the forest, usually not too far away from a suicide victim and their belongings. Undoubtedly, the most common method of suicide in the forest is hanging.
Because Of This Book?
As stated above, it seems many a legend surround this graven book and it's apparent reason for being. It shakes me to the core to think a book would have such an impact on someone that they would choose to end it all.
Or Because Of Japanese Folklore
According to some, ubasute was also common in the earlier years in Japan's history. Ubasute refers to the custom that was allegedly performed in Japan, where an elderly relative was carried to a mountain, or some other remote, desolate place, and left there to die, either by dehydration, starvation, or exposure. In one allegory that can be found, a son carries his mother up a mountain on his back. During the journey, she stretches out her arms, catching the twigs and scattering them in their wake, so that her son will be able to find the way home. Whatever the case may be, the forest at the base of Mt. Fuji is tainted beyond words. Light needs to be restored and faith brought to those who may have lost hope. We need to become beacons for lost souls.
The Suicide Forest Located At The Base Of Mt. Fuji
Who knew that a place of sheer beauty and awe could be the last thing that so many people saw before they took there own lives.
Out Of Respect
For the families who have lost loved ones in this forest, the images I have chosen to share show what is left behind. Not only are the items pictured what is left behind, but imagine the number of families, on average one hundred per year, who live the rest of there days without there loved one next to them. It just does not feel right to post macabre images to get a point across in my writing.
The Authors Thoughts
It pains me as a writer to see people without some sort of hope. Life is always going to have tough moments that make us wonder why we are even here. Questions will race in our minds because we do not know all the answers. We are not supposed to know all of these answers. Death is not the only answer to a life that may be in turmoil. As human beings we need to learn to ban together to keep atrocities like this from being a normal way of life. Jukai has a beauty all its own tarnished with the history of suicide and pain. We as a nation need to stand up and reach out to those who may be having problems that need to be talked about. More listening. Less speaking.
A Short Clip of Destination Truth Investigating Aokigahara, Japan
I Want To Hear From You!
Is this forest truly haunted?
One Of Many Unidentified Suicide Notes From The Forest
"I am called here by the guardian spirit of the mountain, on which I shall destroy myself today. For I tire of loving those that cannot love themselves, and I am sick of fighting those who will not surrender their attack.
When I looked to the blue majestic peak of Fuji it beckoned me, this sacred place where elegant cedars meet the sky. I can now look toward the east and I am lonely for all that I cannot have.
I've said good-bye with a kiss to the girl that urgently prayed for my redemption and I've cursed those that sought my destruction. Yet this is not surrender to them, for the choice is mine, and mine alone. I want nothing more from mankind that only seeks power to corrupt others, and is destined only to destroy innocent human live with their greed and for their pleasure. For this I will no longer be a victim to their evil plotting.
I alone determine my destiny and thus I choose to place my feet into the nether world. A world where nothingness is vast and deluged with the other countless humans that have gone here before me, the dead that can no longer smell the sweetness of baking bread, for they no longer breathe.
I shall soon leave this world, and I will ride a white horse toward the morning sunrise in the shadow of this shallow mountain. No longer bearing witness to the battle for the struggle of life, for I have chosen my own destiny, and for this I am content...because today I am on the mountain."
Azusa Hayano Talks About His Experiences In The Jukai
Suicide Is Not The End Nor The Answer
We all go through problems in life. We all have thoughts that the world may be better off without us. This is not the case. We were put on this Earth for a reason. If these types of thoughts ever grace your mind call the following hotline immediately.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline @ 1-800-273-8255.
© 2015 Amy Williams