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Events in recent days have brought much attention to Aokigahara forest, the dense forest at the bottom of Mount Fuji where YouTube star Logan Paul filmed the body of a man who had killed himself.
The forest is internationally notorious for being a 'suicide forest', with dozens of people travelling there every year in an attempt to end their own lives.
However, Japanese authorities have been trying to lessen the impact of the forest's reputation for years, a reputation that Paul has unintentionally revived with his video.
Credit: YouTube/Logan Paul
Paul has since apologised after posting the YouTube video, which showed Paul making jokes as he and his friends came across a suicide victim as they toured the forest. Understandably, YouTubers like PewDiePie and viewers alike were furious.
Japan has long had one of the world's highest suicide rates as a country, but they have been declining in recent years - according to TIME, 21,897 people committed suicide in the country in 2016, the lowest number in over 20 years.
Aokigahara, which is also known as the 'Sea of Trees', has an unhappy association with suicide, as it has historically been known to be a home to 'yūrei' or ghosts of the dead in Japanese mythology.
The forest was the setting for the 2015 Gus Van Sant film Sea of Trees, in which Matthew McConaughey played an American who planned to kill himself in the forest, along with 2016's The Forest, where a woman looks for her sister believed to have killed herself there.
In an effort to reduce the forest's association with suicide Japanese authorities no longer release the exact numbers of the people who take their own lives there. However, in 2010, 247 people attempted suicide in the forest, and dozens of bodies are believed to be removed from the site each year.
In 2011 local officials have now installed CCTV cameras at the main entrance of Aokigahara and stepped up patrols of the forest. Signs dotted across the forest also urge visitors against suicide, advising them to think of their families.
'U OK M8?' is an initiative from LADbible in partnership with a range of mental health charities which features a series of films and stories to raise awareness of mental health.
Explore more here and don't suffer in silence. Reach out. It's the brave thing to do.
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