Recently, the controversial video by Logan Paul went viral and brought on a barrage of negative backlash onto the YouTube celebrity.
But before you start to actually bash him for featuring and apparently laughing at a dead body, first understand exactly why that suicide forest that he wanted to cover ‘as a joke’ is not something to be used for entertainment.
It is not a place to use for its ‘haunted aspect’ and instead is an extremely revered and sacred place for not just the people of Japan but for people from all over the world.
Don’t let this be another Keaton Jones and curse him out mindlessly. Understand the significance and history of this place and why, what Logan did, was so entirely wrong before you take his case (or don’t).
Where Is The Aokigahara Forest?
The ‘suicide forest’ is actually called the Aokigahara forest or the Sea of Trees. It is a 30 square kilometer big forest situated at the northwestern flank of Japan’s famous Mount Fuji and its ground is made up of hardened lava due to one of the last big eruptions by Mount Fuji that occurred in 864 CE.
The forest’s western side is the one that is popular among tourists and for school trips due to various caves there that fill with ice during the winter season.
The reason why the forest is so quiet is due to the porous nature of the lava that absorbs sounds and the close-set nature of the trees that does not allow wind to pass.
Why Is It Called The Suicide Forest?
More than its natural beauty, the forest is known worldwide as the ‘suicide forest’ because apparently, it is one of the most popular places in Japan for people to commit suicide.
The high number of bodies found there over the years has lent it a haunted and scary aspect that has fascinated tourists from around the world looking for an adventure.
As per records, a total of 105 bodies were found in the forest in the year 2003 and in 2010 police authorities revealed that almost 200 people attempted suicide in the forest out of which about 54 succeeded in the act.
There is even a notice board placed right at the entrance of the forest that addresses suicidal visitors to think about their actions, and urges them not to take their own lives.
This is what a loose translation of the sign reads:
Let’s think once more about the life you were given, your parents, your brothers and sisters, and children. Don’t suffer alone first please contact somebody. (And a phone number for a help hotline)
Why Is The Forest Sacred?
Where for tourists and foreigners, the forest is a place of intrigue due to the haunted aspect, for the natives and other people of Japan, the Aokigahara forest is a sacred place that is meant to be respected.
The Japanese give a lot of importance to the dead and respect the ones that have departed the earthly plane. The Aokigahara forest especially holds a deep significance in the Japanese culture and history.
According to certain people on Twitter, Japanese citizens tend to keep their distance from the forest and don’t even let their children play near it due to fear of the haunted spirits that must have been in immense pain to take their own lives.
It is not only the current suicides that keep people away from this forest but as per certain sources, it is alleged that families during the war times would leave their elderly family members in the forest to die.
Practically speaking, the forest is so thick and dense that it is quite easy to get lost in there as compass and GPS do not work because of the magnetic volcanic rock that makes the base of the forest.
A lot of people who are entering the forest with suicidal thoughts, if they don’t plan on going through with it, wrap brightly coloured tape, string or ribbon around the trees so that they can find their way back.
The Japanese authorities are well aware of the high suicidal rate that the forest sees and have an annual search party sweep the forest looking for bodies and carry them out of the forest.
There are even volunteers who take rounds in the forest and if they see someone attempting suicide, they sit and try to talk with them, hopefully, helping them walk out of the forest alive. If they are unable to convince them, they will then recover the bodies and deliver them to the authorities who further take them to their families.
At the end of it, one must realize how sacred this forest is, it is not a place to get your dose of adventure from, or use as any means of entertainment.
It is a sad and sober place whose sanctity must be maintained.
Image Credits: Google Images
Loose translation of the Notice taken from: xoJane.com