This is a bit darker than our usual material here on the Back Row, but I think it’s an absolutely fascinating watch. Here’s a summary:
The Aokigahara Forest is the most popular site for suicides in Japan. After the novel Kuroi Jukai was published, in which a young lover commits suicide in the forest, people started taking their own lives there at a rate of 50 to 100 deaths a year. The site holds so many bodies that the Yakuza pays homeless people to sneak into the forest and rob the corpses. The authorities sweep for bodies only on an annual basis, as the forest sits at the base of Mt. Fuji and is too dense to patrol more frequently.
Aokigahara – Suicide Forest is a 20-minute mini-documentary that follows geologist Azusa Hayano as he ventures into the Aokigahara forest and guides a camera crew around, looking for the bodies of the deceased. Be warned that while there is nothing graphic, there are a few photos of people who have recently died. Honestly, though, I’ve seen worse stuff on CSI. I highly recommend watching this.