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Delve Deeper

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Aokigahara: Japan's Suicide Forest by Mt. Fuji (OVERVIEW)


Aokigahara is located at the base of Mt. Fuji (Japan).

Aokigahara (or sometimes referred to as "jukai" meaning "sea of trees") is the second most famous place in the world for people to commit suicie, after the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
Aokigahara became a suicide hot spot after the novel Kuroi Jukai (the black sea of trees) by Seichō Matsumoto came out where the lovers committed suicide there at the end of the novel.

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aokigahara]

Related Facts

Japan is well-known as having a very high suicide-rate due to the society (overwork, superhuman expectation, shaky economy, etc.
Common methods of suicide are jumping in front of trains, leaping off high places, hanging, or overdosing on medication.[1] Rail companies will charge the families of those who commit suicide a fee depending on the severity of disrupted traffic.[10]
A newer method, gaining in popularity partly to publicity from Internet suicide websites[2], is to use household products to make the poisonous gas hydrogen sulfide. In 2007, only 29 suicides used this gas, but in a span from January to September 2008, 867 suicides resulted from gas poisoning.[11] [more info]

There is a book in Japan called "The Complete Manual of Suicide" (1993) written by Wataru Tsurumi, which inspired the 2003 movie Suicide Manual (which had terrible reviews on Netflix.)







-----------------VIDEOS---------------
CNN story:

Swedish research film (English/Swedish mix but with subtitles)

^^What I disagree with in this Swedish piece was that the 2 guys foraging through the forest kept talking about it all being a "set up." Like "Oh look here we found the infamous Suicide Manual just lying here on the ground. This must be a set up!" Uh NO, you would expect that some of these people read this book and even took it with them on their "final exit." Why is that so hard to believe? And the fact there they saw articles of clothing strewn about made it unbelievable to them... what? Do you expect them to neatly fold their clothes and bury them before suiciding themselves? Get real! That kind of pissed me off. These Swedes traveled all the way to Japan and this is what they came up with? I mean..great footage, but the idiotic dialogue ruined it.

In Japanese (but worth watching for the footage):


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In somewhat related news, the creator of the Japanese animated show Crayon Shinchan was found dead on a mountain (in Japan):

A body found on a mountain straddling Gunma and Nagano prefectures was confirmed Sunday as that of Yoshihito Usui, cartoonist of the popular ‘‘Crayon Shinchan’’ series adapted for TV and film. Usui’s family confirmed the identity of the body that was found by a climber on Saturday on 1,423-meter Mt Arafune, Gunma prefectural police said. The body was covered in bruises and no suicide notes were found near the body or in his belongings. Police said he may have fallen from a climbing path.

Usui, 51, had been missing since Sept 11, after telling his family at his home in Kasukabe, Saitama Prefecture, that he would be hiking on the mountain and would be back by the evening. His family contacted police the following day as he never returned.

Near body, police also found a broken digital camera, a backpack containing a mobile phone and a wallet, and shoes. {more}
Wow, I used to watch Shinchan when I lived in Japan and of course here on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim.

2 comments:

  1. An interesting post but, although a tragic loss of life, this story is typical of most media reports about suicide in Japan over the last ten years in that it focus on preventing a method of suicide rather than investigating the underlying causes of why people are killing themselves in such terrible high numbers every year in Japan.

    I am a JSCCP clinical psychologist and JFP psychotherapist working in Japan for over 20 years. I would like to put forward a perspective on some of the main reasons behind the unacceptably high suicide numbers Japan and so will limit my comments to what I know about here in Japan

    Mental health professionals in Japan have long known that the reason for the unnecessarily high suicide rate in Japan is due to unemployment, bankruptcies, and the increasing levels of stress on businessmen and other salaried workers who have suffered enormous hardship in Japan since the bursting of the stock market bubble here that peaked around 1997. Until that year Japan had annual suicide of rate figures between 22,000 and 24,000 each year. Following the bursting of the stock market and the long term economic downturn that has followed here since the suicide rate in 1998 increased by around 35% and since 1998 the number of people killing themselves each year in Japan has consistently remained well over 30,000 each and every year to the present day.

    The current worldwide recession is of course impacting Japan too, so unless the new administration initiates very proactive and well funded local and nationwide suicide prevention programs and other mental health care initiatives, including tackling the widespread problem of clinical depression suffered by so many of the general population, it is very difficult to foresee the previous government's stated target to reduce the suicide rate to around 23,000 by the year 2016 as being achievable. On the contrary the numbers, and the human suffering and the depression and misery that the people who become part of these numbers, have to endure may well stay at the current levels that have persistently been the case here for the last ten years. It could even get worse unless even more is done to prevent this terrible loss of life.

    During these last ten years of these relentlessly high annual suicide rate numbers the English media seems in the main to have done little more than have someone goes through the files and do a story on the so-called suicide forest or internet suicide clubs and copycat suicides (whether cheap heating fuel like charcoal briquettes or even cheaper household cleaning chemicals) and mirrors at stations, and now lights at stations, without focusing on the bigger picture and need for effective action and solutions.

    Economic hardship, bankruptcies and unemployment have been the main cause of suicide in Japan over the last 10 years, as the well detailed reports behind the suicide rate numbers that have been issued every year until now by the National Police Agency in Japan show only to clearly if any journalist is prepared to learn Japanese or get a bilingual researcher to do the research to get to the real heart of the tragic story of the long term and unnecessarily high suicide rate problem in Japan.

    I would also like to suggest that as many Japanese people have very high reading skills in English that any articles dealing with suicide in Japan could usefully provide contact details for hotlines and support services for people who are depressed and feeling suicidal.

    Useful telephone numbers and links for Japanese residents of Japan who speak Japanese and are feeling depressed or suicidal:
    Inochi no Denwa (Lifeline Telephone Service):

    Japan: 0120-738-556
    Tokyo: 3264 4343

    Tokyo Counseling Services:
    http://tokyocounseling.com/english/
    http://tokyocounseling.com/jp/

    http://www.counselingjapan.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey, I thought I’d comment as I recently visited Aokigahara forest and spent 6 hours exploring it with two friends and three cameras. I compiled most of the video footage + photos along with bits and pieces from my journal to construct the story of my experience there. Please check it out and let me know what you think! (follow the link)
    http://endofthegame.net/2012/02/20/aokigahara/

    ReplyDelete

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