The novel Kuroi Jukai was released in 1960 and tells the story of a woman who has a love affair with a young public prosecutor. He is blackmailed by the woman's husband, and the only escape for the lovers is a double suicide inside the dark and mysterious Aokigahara forest.
After the novel was published, people started taking their own lives there at a rate of 50 to 100 deaths a year. 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.
This area is famous for two things, the breathtaking views of Mt. Fuji and the suicides. Many people say that this place is also haunted and it is the ghosts the help the people commit suicide.There is also an absence of wildlife, in the area, which makes it even more eerie.
During the semi-regular body search, they leave plastic tape to mark where a body is found, and this tape is never removed. So within the first mile or so from the forests' entrance the area is littered with plastic tape. It is believed that leaving the corpse is left alone is very bad luck, for the yurei (ghost) of the suicide will scream through the night, and the body will move itself on its own.
Since the books release, in 1960, there have been over 500 suicides in the forest, with a peak of 100 in 2003.
In 2004, 108 people killed themselves in the forest.
In 2010, 247 people attempted suicide in the forest, 54 of whom completed the act.
The high rate of suicide has led officials to place signs in the forest, in Japanese and English, urging those who have gone there in order to commit suicide to seek help and not kill themselves. The annual body search, consisting of a small army of police, volunteers, and attendant journalists, began in 1970.
I think the most of the suicides are based on the economic climate of Japan, and not romanticism of the book. But I am sure that the area is very serene, beautiful and yet very sad.
Call me disturbed but I would love to go there and do an investigation, and see for myself, what the forest really holds in it grasp. I am very surprised no one has yet to do this and why there isn't yet an in depth documentary on the subject.
The sub-titled short form documentary, below is very haunting and kind of sad, and the gentleman is actually a geologist. Also this is graphic and not for children.