LOGAN Paul’s controversial YouTube video has brought Japan’s so-called ‘suicide forest’ into the public eye.
But where is Aokigahara and how did it get its morbid reputation? Here’s what we know…
Getty – Contributor Aokigahara is a sprawling forest in Japan, at the base of Mount Fuji
Where is Aokigahara?
Aokigahara is a sprawling forest which sits at the northwestern base of Mount Fuji – where the foliage is so thick it has become known as the ‘Sea Of Trees’.
Mount Fuji, or Fujisan, is about 100km from the capital, Tokyo, and is the highest peak in Japan.
The forest of Aokigahara thrives on an area of 30 sq km of hardened lava, which was laid down during Fujisan’s last major eruption – way back in 864 CE.
The vast forest has several caves filled with ice, and parts of it are popular with tourists.
But it’s no place for a leisurely walk. The woods are filled with densely twisted trees, and the lava absorbs sound, giving visitors an eerie sense of solitude.
Hundreds of people have chosen it as the place to spend their final moments, and walk in with no intention of ever leaving Aokigahara.
Alamy It’s also known as Sea Of Trees or ‘suicide forest’, because of the spate of hangings and overdoses there
How did Aokigahara become known as the ‘suicide forest’?
Historically, Aokigahara was said to be haunted by yurei, or ghosts from Japanese mythology.
It’s become known as one of the world’s most popular suicide sites in recent years – after a spate of hangings and drug overdoses in the area.
Chillingly, Japanese authorities have been forced to erect signs at the start of some trails – urging suicidal visitors to think of their families, and contact a suicide prevention charity.
Alamy Officials erect a sign urging suicidal people to think of their families before taking their own lives
Some 105 bodies were found in the forest in 2003, while police recorded more than 200 attempted suicides there in 2010. Just 54 of them managed to take their own lives.
There tends to be a spike in people taking their own lives in March, at the end of Japan’s financial year.
Some bring tents into the forest and camp for days, debating their fate.
Japan has one of the highest suicide rates of any country in the world, and the 2008 global recession made matters much worse.
The government has stopped publicising the number of suicides in Aokigahara in recent years – in a bid to change its reputation.
Matthew McConaughey starred in a film called Sea Of Trees, about a suicidal American who comes to the forest
Matthew McConaughey starred in a film about Aokigahara, called The Sea Of Trees, in 2016.
It was about an American man who went to the forest to commit suicide – before meeting a Japanese local who’s there for the same reason.
US supernatural horror film The Forest (2016) was also set in these woods.
Getty – Contributor It’s said to be eerily silent because of the thick trees, and lava on the ground
What was Logan Paul’s video about?
YouTuber Logan Paul faced a huge backlash and was forced to apologise after posting a video from Aokigahara on New Year’s Eve – which showed a man who had committed suicide there.
He could be heard yelling “yo, are you alive?” at the dead man, who was hanging from a tree, during a 15-minute clip.
The camera then zoomed into the man’s body, while Logan asked his tour guide: “Did we just find a dead person in the suicide forest hanging?”
YouTube Logan Paul YouTuber Logan Paul posted a sick video of a man hanging in the forest on New Year’s Eve