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Aokigahara, or, The Suicide Forest

Updated on January 9, 2012

The "Suicide Forest", Aokigahara, or, "The Twisted Forest", is a forest near Mount Fuji in Japan. It looks like the proverbial "forest primeval"; extremely quiet, with old-growth, moss covered trees. It is so dark and quiet; the trees are so closely crowded together that they block the wind and sun. Another name for Aokigahara is "The Sea of Trees". There is a noticeable absence of wildlife; animals and birds just don't go there.

It has its own beauty; the ice caverns near the start of the forest are a popular Japanese tourist attraction. The "Ice Cave" and "Wind Cave" are destination spots for local hikers and visiting tourists.

It is also notorious for suicides.

How many suicides?

Up to about 100 persons per year commit suicide in this forest. In 2010, 247 people tried to commit suicide; 54 people succeeded. The forest is so notorious for suicides that twice a year, Japanese volunteers go on a "body hunt", looking for the unburied dead. There are signs posted all throughout the first few kilometers in the forest, trying to talk people out of committing suicide. The signs, which are posted in both Japanese and English, say things like, "Don't do it!" Or, "Think about it!" Or, "Call someone, anyone, and talk before you try to commit suicide". Things like that.

The body count rose dramatically after a book called "Nami no To", or "Tower of Waves" was published by Seicho Matsumoto in 1960. The climax of the book results in two lovers committing suicide in the Aokigahara forest. Still, that doesn't account for the rash of suicides in this haunted place. After all, there weren't a rash of suicides in London after Wm. Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" was first performed. (Not that I know of, anyway.)

Year
# of Suicides
 
1998
73
 
2002
78
 
2003
100
 
2004
108
 

Not all the bodies are found. The forest is dark, and dense, and deep. And oh, so haunted.

In traditional Japanese mythology, Aokigahara is haunted by demons.

Aokigahara is also one of the traditional places for ubasute.

"Ubasute" was, up until the late 1800's, a Japanese practice of leaving elderly, infirm, sick people out on a mountaintop or deep in a forest to die, of starvation or exposure.

No wonder the Aokigahara forest is haunted.



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    • profile image

      Duchess OBlunt 5 years ago

      Paradise7, I found this little gem this morning. Very interesting read. A little spooky, very sad but interesting. It's really strange that animals won't go there. Interesting pictures.

    • Paradise7 profile image
      Author

      Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thank you for the comment, US. It is VERY creepy. I don't know why people commit suicide in the first place; this spot is ideal if that is your aim--it couldn't be more haunted.

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 6 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      gives me creeps but i like this hub. im always into these mysterious places full of secrets. why do people commit suicides in this forest? is it because of the serene ambiance that no one would dare go looking for them? no wonder it is called the suicide forest..

    • Paradise7 profile image
      Author

      Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

      It is, truly. What are the other five???? Thanks for the comment, and please reply.

    • festersporling1 profile image

      Daniel Christian 6 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      What a great interesting hub.Aokigahara is one of the 6 creepiest places on earth.

    • Paradise7 profile image
      Author

      Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thank you for the comment, Nick. I really wouldn't be surprised if THAT plac eis haunted!

    • Paradise7 profile image
      Author

      Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thank you for the comment, and I agree.

    • Paradise7 profile image
      Author

      Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thanks for the comment, Trsmd.

    • Nickalooch profile image

      Nickalooch 6 years ago from Columbia, MD

      Very interesting article. These kind of things I find interesting, I don't know if I believe in ghosts, but all at once I wouldn't be surprised.

    • nityanandagaurang profile image

      nityanandagaurang 6 years ago

      This forest beautiful as well as cursed.It is very sad this beautiful can be place for most suicide,very interesting hub paradise7.voting up.

    • Trsmd profile image

      Trsmd 6 years ago from India

      Forest, without animal..unbelievable...and this has become famous for committing suicide is a bad for this forest. thanks for SHARING :)

    • Paradise7 profile image
      Author

      Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

      Kitty, nobody really knows why the animals don't go there. The Japanese explanation is that the forest is haunted by peculiar demons.

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 6 years ago from Summerland

      Wow...I'd never heard of this place, Paradise. Super interesting! Very sad, though...and I wonder why not a lot of wildlife (animals) live in that forest? Is it because it's such a hotspot for paranormal activity? Great article. Thanks for sharing! The pics are awesome, too.

    • Paradise7 profile image
      Author

      Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thanks for the comment, crystolite!

    • crystolite profile image

      Emma 6 years ago from Houston TX

      Hello, thanks for your hub. The suicide forest seemed like a dark haunted place because of the suicides...creepy.

    • Paradise7 profile image
      Author

      Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

      It is always wise to avoid a place where the animals don't go! Thanks for the comment.

    • hecate-horus profile image

      hecate-horus 6 years ago from Rowland Woods

      It has such a creepy, depressing aura. I found it interesting that even birds and animals stay away. They sense the bad vibes too! Voted up.

    • Paradise7 profile image
      Author

      Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thanks for the comment. I find it's fascinating in a very creepy way. Eastern peoples have a different view of suicide than Western peoples. Sometimes, for the people of the East, suicide is more honorable than continuing to live.

      Some of the increase in suicide attempts in Japan is attributed to an increase of insurmountable debt. I find that's so very sad.

      The people who go looking may save someone's life. The signs may work for some people, saving their lives.

    • Enlydia Listener profile image

      Enlydia Listener 6 years ago from trailer in the country

      Very interesting article...nice that they put up warning signs...maybe they helped someone.

    • Paradise7 profile image
      Author

      Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thank you for the comment. I don't think I'd like to actually go there. It's a very spooky place, and it might even be irreverent to go there as a sight-seer.

    • tlpoague profile image

      Tammy 6 years ago from USA

      Wow, when I began to read this, I thought about how I would love to visit this place. Now I think I will pass and simply enjoy your photos you posted. I wonder if Bigfoot is in there? Great job! I loved it!

    • Paradise7 profile image
      Author

      Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thanks for the comments, Gypsy and That Grrl

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 6 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      A fascinating read. Certainly not a tourist attraction and you couldn't get me in there. The pics are real spooky.

    • That Grrl profile image

      Laura Brown 6 years ago from Barrie, Ontario, Canada

      This was on TV fairly recently. I forget which show and why it was featured. It was probably about abandoned places in some way, that's what I tend to watch.

    • Winsome profile image

      Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      If someone falls in the forest, do they make a sound? I wonder if people decide to go there to die or make the decision after they get inside (with a little push by the demons?)

      Haunting but very interesting. =:)

    • Paradise7 profile image
      Author

      Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

      You're welcome, Peter.

    • Peter Dickinson profile image

      Peter Dickinson 6 years ago from South East Asia

      Fascinating. Thank you.

    • Paradise7 profile image
      Author

      Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thanks for the comment, doctor, and you are right about that first pic. I had the same thought: I was thinking Hansel and Gretel.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

      That first photo, Paradise, looks like something out of a very grim Grimm's Fairy Tale. Really creepy looking tree. And this is a creepy but fascinating hub.

    • The Blagsmith profile image

      The Blagsmith 6 years ago from Britain

      No paradise 7 I was in the Tohoku area in the mountains of an area called Iwate, which is the largest land prefecture in Japan. My wife still lives there at the moment and she writes about the beautiful areas out there on http://gebishpom.blogspot.com/2011/09/genbikei-is-...

    • Paradise7 profile image
      Author

      Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thanks for the comment, Blagsmith. I find it fascinating that you were in Japan; you never got to visit this spot in person, though, did you?

    • The Blagsmith profile image

      The Blagsmith 6 years ago from Britain

      Yeah, I read about this phenomena when I was researching Japanese earthquakes to support my own experience of one whilst I was out there. Even though I am a Christian I believe and have felt emotions in such places that have a happy background as well as evil. I believe strong emotions last in a place long after the sufferers die.

    • Paradise7 profile image
      Author

      Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

      It is a bit of a tease, RM. I just actually got too creeped out myself to pursue it much further. Also, some things just don't translate well from Asian to Western myths. They make no sense!

      There is also a place in Japan called "Ubasute Mountain", where traditionally the elderly, the infirm, and unwanted girl babies were put out to die. This happened during times of famine and starvation; I'm afraid Westerners would be quite shocked and Japanese people quite offended if I took the whole thing much further.

    • rmcrayne profile image

      rmcrayne 6 years ago from San Antonio Texas

      Paradise, this is just a tease!! Tell us more. You could take any one of several tidbits and turn out another entire hub. How interesting in a totally creepy way.

    • Paradise7 profile image
      Author

      Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thanks for the comment, Jeff. I thought to myself, "creepy but kinda awesome", too! Great minds...

    • thejeffriestube profile image

      Dave 6 years ago from United States

      Wow, that is really creepy. And awesome. I would have never known this existed if you did not write about it, For that, I thank you.

    • Paradise7 profile image
      Author

      Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thanks for your comment, Jeannie. I found out about it on "Cracked.com", a passing reference. I thought they were kidding or were making it up, since they put (believe it or not) kind of a comic spin on the reference.

      It haunted me, though, so I had to do a bit of research.

    • Jeannieinabottle profile image

      Jeannie InABottle 6 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      This is a really interesting hub. I learned about this forest on an episode of Destination Truth on SyFy channel. They thought they caught a ghost on camera in the forest. What a fascinating place! Great hub and voted up!

    • Paradise7 profile image
      Author

      Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thanks for the comment, Frank. My, you are quick! and very, very complimentary.

      I was so intrigued when I ran across this. I truly believe there are some places in the world that are inhabited by spirits or demons, and have been since time immemorial.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 6 years ago from Shelton

      This is amazing the pictures are amazing too the twisted forest.. suicide forest.. damn so many haunting stories could come of this hub..LOL thanks for the share :) I got to vote up and beautful but im leaning toward interesting with a touch of awesome

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