Japan Travel and Culture Guide
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japan's demon forest
Japan's Demon Forest
posted by John Spacey, Japan Talk, December 30, 2011
Aokigahara (青木ヶ原) is an ancient forest at the foot of Mount Fuji that's also known as the Sea of Trees (樹海).
It's a thick growth forest in volcanic rock and soil. It's devoid of animals and is strangely quiet. It's rocky and cold with icy caverns.
Legend has it that in ancient times of famine — families abandoned old and young here (ubasute). Aokigahara is said to be haunted with the souls of the abandoned. There are numerous ghost and demon stories associated with the forest.
In a sad modern twist on a ancient story, Aokigahara is a popular place for people to take their own life. Every year local officials search the forest for bodies. Up to 100 bodies are found each year.
Japanese culture glorifies the act of taking one's own life. Suicide is the leading cause of death for Japanese men aged 20-44. It's a sad fact of life in Japan that could be avoided with more support for the depressed and financially distressed.
Someone takes their own life every 15 minutes in Japan.
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