Monday, January 12, 2015

The Curse That Extended Beyond Aokigahara (自杀森林)

Aokigahara is also known as Suicide Forest situated at the base of Mount Fuji in Japan. In Japanese mythology, Aokigahara is associated with demonic forces and it is also a popular place for people committing suicide. Some people attribute the site’s popularity to the novel written in 1960: Black Sea of Trees by Seicho Matsumoto but some say that the history goes beyond this.


A visiting Japanese friend, Yamamoto who wanting to find a second home in Penang told me his personal story which happened somewhere around 2010:


At that time, a group of international friends went to Japan for a reunion. There were acquaintances during their university studies: 2 from China, Hong Kong and Malaysia each, 3 from USA and 4 from Japan.


Since all of the folks are nature lovers, the group decided to have a join outing and the place they have chosen was Aokigahara due to its mystery and beauty. So after some preparations, off they went.


According to Yamamoto, at first the group just walk around the outskirt of the forest as there were already many signboards and blockages setup by local authorities preventing unwary tourists from accidently entering the forest.


Somehow there seemed to have some kind of force attracted the group to go deeper into the forest. As recalled by Yamamoto, the more they walked into the forest, the forest gradually became silent; not a single sound from birds or insects which would be fairly common in just any forest during spring. The surrounding is just dead silent with a sense of death hitting the heart of everyone.


It was perhaps after an hour and a half’s walk into Aokigahara, they started to stumble into some human bone remains. A few group members picked up the remains and played with them and uttered some jokes which Yamamoto thought they were just a little disrespect to the dead. No one paid too much attention to the jokes and the group decided to return as it was getting dark.


Yamamoto’s group stayed together for some more sightseeing before they parted and returned to individual home country. A year later, one of the Chinese members suddenly fall sick and died. Almost at the same time, one of Yamamoto’s Hong Kong friends suddenly became blind.


Two years later, his two American friends were killed in a gun fire between robbers and police.


Three years later down the road, Yamamoto’s two friends entered the Suicide Forest and committed suicide due to financial problems.


Four years later, another two Malaysians died in air related incidents.


At this point, almost half of Yamamoto’s group is gone.


Perhaps Yamamoto wanted to escape the curse of Aokigahara, or perhaps he just wanted to have a new life; only Yamamoto can answer this question.

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