In 1960, Seicho Matsumoto wrote the novel “Tower of wave”, where a couple of lovers commit suicide in the Jukai forest in Japan. This story gave rise to a wave of suicides in that particular place and people came from far away to end their lives. The place is also mentioned by the author Wataru Tsurumi in his book “The Complete Suicide Book”.
The book became a best-seller in Japan and following its release, many bodies were found in the woods. Wataru Tsurumi describes the forest as the perfect place to die. He explains how to drive to this forest and where is the best place for never being found. The forest is also called “Jukai” (the ocean of trees) by the locals because of its dense vegetation. It grew on the remains of the last volcanic eruption which took place 864 years ago and covered more than 3500 hectares.
Those who enter the forest often tie a rope (painted blue and white) on the edge of the path and walk with it for a few hundred meters. Some parts of the forest are completely filled with them. There are more than 30 000 suicides per year in Japan. Every fifteen minutes a Japanese man commits suicide. In 2008 after the Lehman Brothers bank went bankrupt, the number of suicides increased so much that the authorities spoke of an epidemic. Last year after the earthquake and tsunami, more than 60 people took their own lives as a result of the shock caused by the natural disaster. Authorities fear that this is only the beginning: suicide and depression already cost society more than a billion a year.