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Just a Really Stupid Question

by LiquidHuman

So, this is going to sound like a stupid question, but I know I’m not going to get a straight answer if I go to a message board. So here goes.

Is it culturally insensitive for a foreigner to kill themselves in the Aokigahara forest? (I warned you it was stupid.)

So, I’ve always been eerily fascinated in the place. It’s not just because it’s considered “the suicide forest”, but its also just how gorgeous the place is. Apparently, once you enter the forest, the trees and ground are formed in such a way that you can’t even hear anything going on outside. In that sense, you’re completely alone. Like you’re being swallowed up by the earth itself. Exiled from the rest of the world. It’s almost otherworldly in a sense. I think that’s what I really want. To be alone. That’s why I want to go.

So I figured, why not? I’ve always wanted to visit Japan and I want to kill myself, so why not kill two birds with one stone? I’ll go to Japan, see the sights, eat some good food, have a good time (hopefully make use of the two years I spent trying to learn Japanese) and then make my final stop at Aokigahara. Seems like a good vacation to me.

But then it kind of occurred to me that the local people of Japan might not think too fondly of a foreigner coming to kill themselves on their soil. Or maybe they might think I’m coming their to film a dead body or something. (Thanks for that, Logan Paul. Asshole.) So, I’m kind of worried that I might upset the people living there if I kill myself on their turf. I don’t want to be the kind of person that goes where they’re not wanted, and I want to be respectful to the Japanese culture as much as possible while I’m there. I don’t even really know the whole history of Aokigahara. (I do know some people believe those who kill themselves there turn into yurei. I don’t know if that rule applies to foreigners though. Can an American become a yurei? Of course, that’s assuming yurei actually exist.) So I’m not sure I, as an outsider, have a right to end my life in a place so connected to a culture I’m not a part of.

It’s kinda sad though. I’d love to go there, and I’d love even more to kill myself there. It’s probably the closest place I can go to be completely alone. Just be swallowed up by a sea of trees and possibly never be found. That might sound terrifying to some, but to me, I couldn’t think of a more peaceful way to die. But I do realize I’m a guest when I go to another country, and I have to be respectful of their rules.

So what do you think? Should I make the trip to Japan or just kill myself closer to home? (Ha ha! See, I worded the question so I off myself either way.)

If anyone is of Japanese descent and can tell me what you or someone you know would say, that would be even more helpful.

Thanks.

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thehusk 1/15/2020 - 11:38 pm

It sounds nice. I’m not Japanese, but I doubt anyone would be particularly bothered that you’re an ‘outsider’. I don’t think it’s like some kind of cherished ritual or deeply linked to Japanese culture. It’s just somewhere desperate people go to delay discovery. Most locals wouldn’t want anyone doing it, native or foreigner. It gives a bad image.

It might make it somewhat more complicated for whoever finds your body to identify you and contact your loved ones though.

I’d say you have the right to end your life at any time and place you feel the need to, but some ways of doing it will have more negative consequences than others.

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