Aokigahara, also known as the ‘sea of trees’ is located on the northwestern edge of the famous Mt. Fuji in Japan. The forest has gained a reputation as being home to many ghosts of the dead. Aokigahara, though a beautiful place, has become associated with suicide, even being nicknamed the Suicide Forest. Most of the suicides are from drug overdoses or hanging, poor desperate souls who feel there is no other way for them. Those who decide that hanging is the way to go have a wide assortment of trees to choose from.
The suicides continue to be numerous despite the signs posted encouraging those contemplating it to contact a suicide prevention group. These people try to help but how can they know the depths that other people have reached emotionally? How they see the world and their place in it or out of it? Recent studies show that Japan has the seventh highest suicide rate in the world.
What is the main cause for all these suicides that take place in Japan? For adults, it is mainly health reasons and also economic issues that drive them to despair. The pressure to be successful is unbearable for some. For adolescents it seems to stem from a struggle with interpersonal problems. It can also sometimes be due to the academic pressure to succeed and the intense drive it takes. What must the Asian Black Bear, Japanese mink, and the oriental turtle dove think of people ending their sad lives there?