November 24, 2009

Sad forest of ghosts may be disturbing pictures in first link Legend has it there was a fierce battle in this forest ages ago, and the restless souls of those who perished then continue to haunt the area and call for more dead. Legend also has it that it's easy to lose to lose your way here, and there are dangers including sinkholes and collapsed lava tubes. The forest is not always silent.

The forest is just one of the places of tragedy. Japan has the highest suicide rate in the group of seven industrialized nations, according to a report published on Tuesday. A total of 32,249 people committed suicide in Japan last year, or 23.7 suicides per 100,000 people in 2008. Annual suicide rates in Japan have exceeded 30,000 for the past decade. With 24,846 suicides reported through September, this year's figures are nearing the 2003 record of 34,427. Health problems are the main cause for suicides, accounting for 65% of all cases, followed by financial and family problems. Police have blamed the rise in the suicide rate on the worsening economic situation in the country amid the global financial crisis and large-scale job losses. From Wikipedia: Typically most suicides are men, with over 71% of suicides in 2007 being male. The rate among the over-60 population is also high, but people in their thirties are most likely to commit suicide. Suicide is the leading cause of death for people under 30. The most frequent location for suicides is in Aokigahara, a forested area at the base of Mount Fuji. In the period leading up to 1988, about 30 suicides occurred there every year. In 1999, 74 occurred,[the record until 2002 when 78 suicides were found. The area is patrolled by police looking for suicides, and that same year 83 people intending suicide were found and taken into protective custody. Railroad tracks are also a common place for suicide, and the Chūō Rapid Line is particularly known for a high number

  • Hmmm. Was it a romantic notion, unromantic job losses, or something metaphysical that sent these people to suicide forest? In favor of the metaphysical, here's another wierdness link, starting off with Aokigahara, but the very next place, called the Overtoun Bridge. is where 600 dogs have leaped to their deaths, some trying more than once to finish the job. Since dogs don't often have jobs anymore, and don't read novels, the third explanation might just be a reality.
  • What a strange and sad place. Probably not the best spot for a picnic while visiting Mt. Fuji.
  • Cool link.
    "Health problems are the main cause for suicides, accounting for 65% of all cases..."
    Are they really claiming that 65% of suicides are people who are diagnosed terminal, or are in pain, or have an ailment bad enough to make them seek THAT way out? That smacks of whitewashing in any country, and especially in a place with as much education, job, career, and society stress as Japan.
    "...the Overtoun Bridge ... is where 600 dogs have leaped to their deaths..."
    Let me guess: Small, impoverished village? Not fond of canines? Someone gets an idea for a burgeoning tourist trade? "All we have to do is toss a few hundred dogs over the bridge." Or maybe I'm cynical. Hmph.
  • First up there is a history of suicide here in Japan which is tied in with honour and this is a Buddhist country - so there isn't the level of shame with killing yourself as in other countries. Where the shame comes in however is the stigma surrounding mental health. People do not willingly seek counseling or therapy here and it's considered a shameful secret to be mentally ill. That's probably the worst "health reason".
  • It is believed to be very bad luck if the corpse is left alone, for the "yurei" (ghost) of the suicide will scream through the night, and the body will move itself on its own. Well, this is what they say happens, when the corpses is all disheveled the next morning.
  • Then *the ghost in the machine* likening of mind to body has, in this forest over night, become the ghost scream that motivates the machine. But, but... then it might no longer be enough to kill the brain to kill the zombie!