Recently, Aokigahara, a national forest in Fujikawaguchiko, Japan, has received national attention in response to a young YouTuber’s recent video in which he filmed a suicide victim.
If you aren’t familiar with Aokigahara this may sound surprising, but the forest is actually known for the amount of suicides that occur there. In fact, it is often referred to as “Japan’s suicide forest.” I first heard about the forest years ago when I watched the 2012 Vice documentary that featured the forest. It is available on YouTube and can be watched below:
The forest was also the setting for a 2016 horror film starring Game of Thrones’ Natalie Dormer. But now, the forest has entered the spotlight again in response to the controversial video.
The video, which has since been removed, features YouTuber Logan Paul and friends preparing to spend a night in the forest when they come across a suicide victim’s hanging body. On the video, Paul asks, “Bro, did we just find a dead person in the suicide forest?” which says just as much about him as the obnoxious alien hat he is wearing. Paul’s group is upset by their discovery, with one person saying, “I don’t feel good.” The controversy begins when Paul is seen trying to stifle laughter, saying, “This was all going to be a joke, why did it become so real?” Later, in the parking lot, Paul says, “That’s the life, this daily vlog life. Guys, I said this in one of my first vlogs, I have chosen to entertain you guys every single day.” Basically, it appears Paul is saying his exploitation of a suicide victim was done to entertain his followers. Just as insensitive, the video opened with Paul saying, “Buckle the fuck up, because you’re never gonna see a video like this again.”
Paul has attempted to apologize by claiming the video was released to “raise awareness for suicide and suicide prevention,” but people aren’t buying it. Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul laid into Paul on Twitter, saying, “You disgust me. I can’t believe that so many young people look up to you. Hopefully this latest video woke them up. You are pure trash, plain and simple. Suicide is not a joke.”
Featured image courtesy of All That Is Interesting.