The Aokigahara Forest is a lonely place to die. So dense is the vegetation at the foot of Japan’s Mount Fuji, it is all too easy to disappear among the evergreens and never be seen again.
Each year the authorities remove as many as 100 bodies found hanging at the country’s suicide hotspot – but others can lie undiscovered for years.
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.