Discover Aokigahara (Japan’s Suicide Forest)

Aokigahara (青木ヶ原), also known as the Suicide Forest or Sea of Trees (樹海 Jukai), is a 35-square-kilometre (14 sq mi) forest that lies at the northwest base of Mount Fuji in Japan. (Source:  wikipedia.org)

The documentary features geologist Asuza Hayano as the guide inside the beautiful but creepy Aokigahara Forest.  It is the most popular suicide spot in Japan.  Warning signs posted outside the forest try to dissuade people against taking their lives.  I had goosebumps while watching this video.  At the same time, it made me realize all over again that Japan is not just about anime, manga, and J-pop; they also have these serious societal issues that drive people to suicide.

I admire how passionate Asuza Hayano-san in trying to solve this suicide issue.  He may not stop all the suicides in Japan, but he is doing his part in his own way.  I highly encourage you to watch this documentary.  If you are a non-Japanese speaker, the video is already English subtitled.  Many thanks to Chris Carothers for uploading a copy on Youtube.


Uploaded by:  Chris Carothers


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16 thoughts on “Discover Aokigahara (Japan’s Suicide Forest)”

  1. Aokigahara is one of the beautiful really old woods. As I saw the sign and heard people talk I first couldn’t believe how this forrest inspires people to kill themselves. The japanese often call it yukai now, though. I wrote this poem on Aokigahara because I didn’t understand the pull. Someone who went there to kill himself said that he heard the call of yukai. I am not sure that is was just a phrase, it seemed like he tried to find the right words for the sentiment. He also said the wood wasn’t yet ready to take him. The guy had been in Aokigahara for the 3rd time.

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    1. Indeed. It’s a beautiful and enchanted place. It’s a very fascinating topic especially to non-Japanese. Reminds me that Japan is not just all about J-pop & anime. This youkai talk might just be a figure of speech to these suicidal people, but what do we really know? There are so many mysterious things in this world that it’s wise not to discount everything that seem illogical.

      Do you have your Aokigahara poem on your blog?

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      1. youkai are the shapeshifters and spirits of animal origin… But the place aokigahara is now called jukai because of the suicides. I am still trying to figure the Kanji most probably it’s the yuu of yuurei which refers to spirits of human origin.
        I think it is a interesting topic…
        yes, it is on my blog, yellowgreen script…

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      2. Well, jukai literally means sea of trees. And the kanji for youkai is 妖怪 while yuurei is 幽霊. So they actually each contain different characters.

        Can you send me a link to your poem?

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      3. Indeed it is what makes chinese and japanese easier to read than corean.

        hm, I haven’t figured out yet how to send a link on wordpress…. my post is called Aokigahara 24.07.2014 did I post it … wisdomofsnow.wordpress.com/2014/07/24/aokigahara shows my browser above, I am not sure if wordpress uses different links inside and outside of the account

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      4. It’s alright now. I was able to use the link that you included. Thanks for sharing it with me. It’s a great poem. Feel free to send me your poem links if you think that they will interest me. I’ll be more than happy to check them out. Keep on blogging! Cheers!

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      5. Thank you, I am still trying to figure out wordprss at times as I am all for learning by doing… ok 🙂 I will point out japan related poems since you post about japan… oh btw if you happen to like haiku I have a blog here for haiku only… a haiku a day … I don’t write japanese haiku here though, just english… Keep on sharing, too… like what you post

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      6. No problem. Me, too. This blog is actually just barely 2 months old, so everyday is a learning experience. Certainly, send me links to your poems, including your haiku blog. I like the simplicity of haiku poems.

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  2. Just finished watching the video. I’ve heard of the Suicide Forest. Asuza Hayano-san puts it in perspective. His act of compassion and searching for the Why is amazing. Great post.

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