Aokigahara also known as the Sea of Trees, is a dense forest that lies at the northwest base of Mount Fuji in Japan. The forest contains a number of rocky, icy caverns, a few of which are popular tourist destinations. Due to the wind-blocking density of the trees and an absence of wildlife, the forest is known for being exceptionally quiet.
The forest has a historic association with demons in Japanese mythology and is a popular place for suicides despite numerous signs, in Japanese and English, urging people to reconsider their actions.
"Part of the appeal is dying at the foot of the sacred Mt. Fuji. Part of it is the foreboding nature of Aokigahara, so dense and thick that from just a few kilometers inside it no sounds can be heard other than those produced by the forest itself. Legends surround the place; for instance, there are said to be massive underground iron deposits that cause compasses to go haywire, trapping innocents along with the purposely suicidal. Japan’s Self Defence Force regularly runs training exercises throughout Aokigahara, and claims to have had no trouble with their military-grade lensatic compasses. They admit, though, that commercially available equipment would be pretty much useless.
Aokigahara is considered the most haunted location in all of Japan, a purgatory for yurei, the unsettled ghosts of Japan who have been torn unnaturally soon from their lives and who howl their suffering on the winds. Spiritualists say that the trees themselves are filled with a malevolent energy, accumulated from centuries of suicides. They don’t want you to go back out."
- Quote taken from Article: "The Suicide Woods of Mt. Fuji" - www.japanzine.jp
Now, believe me when I say, this could not be more out of my comfort zone.
Let me go through my briefs/finals at uni so far.
Teapots, Chagall interpretation, children's book on planets, jack and the beanstalk, and the women's institute.
Yep, this is different.
But if you were to imagine a place of pain, it would be this forest.
A place still, windless, silent, the air full of sadness.
It's such a macabre but fascinating thing I stumbled upon, I couldn't not just let it pass me by.
I got this big image right at the front of my brain of a person walking through this distressing forest, full of pain and depression and glum and getting to the other edge, seeing the warm light of home and it all floating away.
(Now is that not the most pretentious/ cheesey thing you've ever heard? Oh well)
I just want to spend more time linking the two concepts together and exploring the rich visual idea that it gives me and can lead off onto other subjects to investigate.