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Aokigahara aka Jukai or "sea of trees"


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#1 Anara

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 01:45 PM

This is one thing I have been reading about online and thought I'd place it here if anyone else was interested in learning about it. Apparently, the forest has a lot of myth surrounding it in regards to "demons" and the dead inhabiting the trees. On a mundane level, unfortunately, it is known as "suicide forest"...and is known, as far as I have read, as the third most popular spot in the world (some accounts place it as second only to the Golden Gate Bridge) for suicide (to be fair though, Japan's rate of suicide tends to be higher though, overall, from what I have read ). It is not uncommon to stumble upon human bones laying about within the forest, which I am sure lends to the eerie energy that seems to be pervasive there. I did, interestingly enough, come across an image of a small doll nailed upside down on a tree, with it's arms outstretched (reminded me a bit of Aloe's doll island thread) The one who found it felt it was cursed. It does make sense to me that it might be a place that witches might be familiar with. I found this a little over a year ago while trying to search out Japanese mythology and stumbled on the info. The forest is very close to where some of my family are from and so it piqued my interest. Warning: if you google images of Aokigahara they can be quite graphic and the articles about them tend to include graphic images as well.

Edited by Anara, 05 April 2013 - 01:53 PM.

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#2 Whiterose

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 02:21 PM

I have heard of this place and seen documentaries on it. Quite disturbing.

We had a wood similar to that around here, although not quite as bad. Also reminds me of the Pine Barrens in NJ close to where I was born and where some of my family comes from. I used to play in the Barrens as a child. :)

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#3 Anara

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 02:33 PM

I have heard of this place and seen documentaries on it. Quite disturbing.

We had a wood similar to that around here, although not quite as bad. Also reminds me of the Pine Barrens in NJ close to where I was born and where some of my family comes from. I used to play in the Barrens as a child. :smile:

Oh, no way!!!! I am googling Pine Barrens, right now...I was actually born in NJ (I'm the only one in my fam. born there..lol..long story)...I was born in Camden....hmm, I don't remember the woods around there, but I moved away when I was just 6, so my memory is foggy-I was too little, I guess. But, now you have me curious about it. I'm going to have to look into that more, wrote "Pine Barrens" down :wink:

Edited by Anara, 05 April 2013 - 02:35 PM.

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#4 Whiterose

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 02:37 PM

I am posting a thread on the pine barrens right now lol.
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#5 Anara

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 02:38 PM

I am posting a thread on the pine barrens right now lol.

dude, that's awesome...can't wait to read it

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"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you will always long to return." ~ Leonardo Da Vinci

#6 Lynn

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 04:54 PM

Yeah I read an article on it. It mentioned the parking lot and the cars that would just sit there, their owners having driven there and not come back. It is so sad and so tragic and so unnecessary for those poor people to take their lives. The cars with the belongings left inside them was a really poignant image to me. I just feel so bad for them.
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#7 ShadowKing

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 01:42 AM

Agokigahara is a strange place indeed. its located at the northwest base of the mystical Mt. Fuji. I read that forest is very quiet and has little to no animal life and the forest is so dense it blocks about any kind of wind. even the geography is rather mystical, A silent forest with a large lake, ice caves, caverns and rests on the base of Japan's tallest mountain.
All the while being a dark dense and creepy forest, entangled with death, the dead and the dying. According to legend Agokigahara is a kind of underworld with it's own ghosts, demons and other assorted horrors. The forest has a way of drawing people to it. Its probably full of phenomenon. I'd be up to study it one of these days. though with my luck id visit it and there would be all kinds of Evil Dead nonsense going about that day. XD I have a very morbid imagination.

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#8 Aurelian

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 03:56 AM

That's interesting. Not heard about these places, as I don't watch TV and rarely read books outside of my particular interests.

These places are probably good places to go if you care to bargain a few years of your life in exchange for things from the hungry dead.

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"The truth about the world, he said, is that anything is possible. Had you not seen it from birth and thereby bled it of its strangeness it would appear to you for what it is, a hat trick in a medicine show, a fevered dream, a trance bepopulate with chimeras having neither analogue nor precedent, an itinerant carnival, a migratory tentshow whose ultimate destination after many a pitch in many a mudded field is unspeakable and calamitous beyond reckoning." - Cormac McCarthy

#9 ShadowKing

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 05:10 AM

That's interesting. Not heard about these places, as I don't watch TV and rarely read books outside of my particular interests.

These places are probably good places to go if you care to bargain a few years of your life in exchange for things from the hungry dead.


I wonder what kind of force compounds after thousands of years of sad souls, some left out to die of hunger ?

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#10 Roanna

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 01:27 PM

I wonder what kind of force compounds after thousands of years of sad souls, some left out to die of hunger ?

I think the atmosphere would be profoundly traumatic. A bit like how people describe Auschwitz. There is a village near me (Eyam in Derbyshire) which was sealed during one of the plagues so the plague did not leave the village. Legend has it that the sealing was voluntary but the one time I went there I could really pick up on the suffering that had taken place and it didn't feel very voluntary to me. Its impossible to believe that tragedy can rock a place so thoroughly and leave no imprint to be felt by those who visit in the future.

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#11 Anara

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 04:51 PM

I wonder what kind of force compounds after thousands of years of sad souls, some left out to die of hunger ?

malevolence and a sense of inescapable sadness would be my guess. I'd like to go to the general area someday and can't decide if I want to visit the forest or not. The energies there might be overwhelming...and yep, sometimes the very young, the sick, and the elderly would be left there to die in days past, if the family was too poor to feed them. I can't help but wonder if Shintoism had anything to do with those practices though....anyway, if I do visit, you can be sure I will take a small branch out of the forrest to bring home, and see what I can learn.

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#12 Anara

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 04:51 PM

Its impossible to believe that tragedy can rock a place so thoroughly and leave no imprint to be felt by those who visit in the future.

Agreed!

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#13 Evergreen47

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 12:05 AM

I first heard about Aokigahara from this article: http://www.cracked.c...t-places-earth/ . It does sound really interesting, and I bet the energy is quite disturbing. According to the article (which, yes, is a humor site, but they do do their research for the most part), the forest became popular for suicides in the 1950's due to a popular novel in which the main characters commit suicide there. Makes me want to read the novel....
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#14 Anara

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 12:19 AM

I first heard about Aokigahara from this article: http://www.cracked.c...t-places-earth/ . It does sound really interesting, and I bet the energy is quite disturbing. According to the article (which, yes, is a humor site, but they do do their research for the most part), the forest became popular for suicides in the 1950's due to a popular novel in which the main characters commit suicide there. Makes me want to read the novel....

Not only is there a novel, but there is also a book called "The Complete Manual to Suicide" that mentions Aokigahara...the manual as well as the novel have been found with those that have taken their lives.

Edited by Anara, 08 April 2013 - 12:19 AM.

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#15 Anara

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 01:51 PM

Thought this paragraph that I stumbled across the other day was interesting, so I thought I'd post it, since there seems to be a little bit of interest on the topic here. "Some say it [the suicides] started even before the 1960 novel. This time, it is said to be a ritual called nyujoh. It is the first recorded suicide in Aokigahara Jukai. A Buddhist monk named Shohkai in 1340 walked through the forest and found a cave. Inside this cave, he performed nyujoh: to fast, to purify, to cleanse the body, and to eventually kill oneself from starvation. Other monks started to follow his example." link source (about half way down the page): http://www.thediagra...2_5/knapic.html . I can't seem to find much more supporting information, so far, on whether or not there is truth to this, but I'll keep looking when I have time.
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"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you will always long to return." ~ Leonardo Da Vinci

#16 MamaLavell

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 11:38 PM

I too first heard about Aokigahara through the Cracked article (hey, it’s not all Star Wars references and pop culture countdowns over there ya know!). I agree that it’s a fascinating and unsettling phenomena…like something out of the very darkest chapters of Grimm, but flavoured with Japan’s own unique brand of the macabre. I think it a lot of the allure of the tale comes down to that ancient, instinctive fear that we have as a species for the untamed wildwood. Many parts of Aokigahara are untouched virgin forest, and its not difficult to imagine the veil between the worlds being particularly thin in such a place. You get the sense that - if the demons and spirits of Old Japan do still roam the earth - this is where they’re going to hang out.

I did read a little on the subject following the Cracked article, and from memory, I understand that the area’s haunted reputation does predate that 1950s/60s timeframe given by many writers on the subject. Apparently, during famines in ancient times, the locals would take the young, old, sick or otherwise unwanted members of their community and leave them in the forest to die from hunger and exposure. I cannot find any sources to back up the legends, but if true, the memory of such suffering could help to explain the negativity which seems to have permeated the landscape. But then it’s the whole chicken/egg scenario. Does the forest have a negative energy because people die there, or do people die there because of the negative energy? What came first? Where did the ‘haunting’ begin? Could or should the land be exorcised? I dunno…like any good mystery, Aokigahara throws up more questions than it answers. But it’s a fascinating, if eerie, place. Not sure I’d fancy popping down for a gander though.

Edited by MamaLavell, 06 May 2013 - 11:39 PM.

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#17 Aurelian

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 04:15 AM

My basic and uneducated guess would be that the land is tainted due to so many dying in desperation, possibly drawn there by nasty spirits(fae, etc). Exorcised....not by me, I'll tell you that much :ohmy: I'm too sensitive to certain things to contemplate such an action, who the hell knows what would happen to me.

Fascinating subject, however!!

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"The truth about the world, he said, is that anything is possible. Had you not seen it from birth and thereby bled it of its strangeness it would appear to you for what it is, a hat trick in a medicine show, a fevered dream, a trance bepopulate with chimeras having neither analogue nor precedent, an itinerant carnival, a migratory tentshow whose ultimate destination after many a pitch in many a mudded field is unspeakable and calamitous beyond reckoning." - Cormac McCarthy

#18 ShadowKing

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 05:39 AM

I too first heard about Aokigahara through the Cracked article (hey, it’s not all Star Wars references and pop culture countdowns over there ya know!). I agree that it’s a fascinating and unsettling phenomena…like something out of the very darkest chapters of Grimm, but flavoured with Japan’s own unique brand of the macabre. I think it a lot of the allure of the tale comes down to that ancient, instinctive fear that we have as a species for the untamed wildwood. Many parts of Aokigahara are untouched virgin forest, and its not difficult to imagine the veil between the worlds being particularly thin in such a place. You get the sense that - if the demons and spirits of Old Japan do still roam the earth - this is where they’re going to hang out.

I did read a little on the subject following the Cracked article, and from memory, I understand that the area’s haunted reputation does predate that 1950s/60s timeframe given by many writers on the subject. Apparently, during famines in ancient times, the locals would take the young, old, sick or otherwise unwanted members of their community and leave them in the forest to die from hunger and exposure.


I totally forgot about the people left to die there. It was a practice that started in ancient Japan. The place looks amazing I have a hard time believing such a beautiful place full of natural wonders could generate such energy unaided by man. we have a knack for pollution, I guess no one considered spiritual pollution a problem but then you have the "no animals" phenomena. Animals are very astute and if they feel its not a good place to set up home then I have to agree with them.

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#19 Anara

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 01:57 PM

Those are some awesome points, MamaLavell. I have read that "Ubasute" was the word used to describe the practice of leaving family members out to die in the mountains, and at times it was mandated by "feuding officials". If you search under the word ubasute, much will come up. Also, apparently, there are ancient poems referencing Aokigahara. So far, no luck in finding any on the internet, but I'll keep looking to see if I can find anything online, or in a book.Third, Panaceum, in reference to the lack of animal life there, I came across some interesting things, on a mundane level anyway. Apparently, some studies have revealed high levels of radon gas in the area. This could have something to do with few animals there (and could certainly affect people too, that venture there!). Also, an anomaly-there are high concentrations of magnetic iron ore on the forest floor, which renders compasses useless. People have been known to get lost in the forest due to regular compasses not working from what I have read, although the military states their high tech equipment works fine within the forest. So, if you plan on going there to explore, take a compass that will work. Also, Aurelian, I agree-there have got to be some nasty spirits there. This might be fanciful thinking and I acknowledge that, however, I can't help but wonder if those books were partly inspired by some of those nasty spirits.

Edited by Anara, 08 May 2013 - 03:12 PM.

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#20 ArcticWitch

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 08:55 PM

I had never heard of this place until I stumbled across this thread yesterday, so I browsed Youtube a bit before deciding to watch Vice's mini-documentary about the forest.  The video mentioned that the forest was the result of an eruption of Mt. Fuji in the year 864.  The forest took root atop the volcanic rock, and the unique geology is presumably why there are so many caves in the area as well.

 

In a magical context, I can easily see the region as being an "in-between".  It isn't often that, in nature, fire [volcano] creates rather than destroys, so theoretically it would make sense that such a departure from Natural Law would attract the type of energies (even entities?) that would draw or prompt people to take their life there.


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