In the northwest of the majestic Mount Fuji in Maharajah, Japan, as far as the eye can see, lies a vast expanse of trees that have nurtured over hundreds of years as the famous Aokigahara Forest, or “Sea of Trees.” One morning, the Japanese geologist Azusa Hayano stops his car at the entrance to the forest to begin his usual work of studying volcanic eruptions, and protecting the environment in general, a work that always forces him to enter the dense forest to the base of Mount Fuji, proudly anchored as an old man dictating life lessons to his visitors.
Hayano navigates with difficulty among the dense branches in what the Japanese describe as “the abyss of emptiness”, while in various places there are paintings put up by the Japanese government, some of which are written strange phrases for non-Japanese such as “Your life is a precious gift from your parents, think of them and the rest of your family, You don’t have to suffer alone”, paintings that at first glance seem to have missed their way into the forest, while under the phrases is written the number of a hotline.
Hayano skips official colored guideposts to prevent visitors from getting lost and then dying, and as he walks he sees a relatively distant yellow tent, walks up to it and checks it out with other items to estimate that it’s been here for a few months. He would find, then approach something that looked like someone’s clothes to find a decomposing corpse, and next to it on a tree stump was a hanging with the person’s name written on it, and the words “I came here because nothing good was going on in my life”, a scene worthy of a familiar horror movie. He had gotten used to it, for this is not his first visit anyway, and he had previously found more than a hundred bodies while doing his work in the forest, which had turned into a real large cemetery that smelled of death.
Usually, a phenomenon like suicide does not have a typical time, but Japan has broken the unwritten rule, and not long ago has known something like a Japanese horror month, which is the month of September every year.
In that month, summer vacation ends and the study begins, something closely related to the giant Japanese suicide machine. In a study government by the Japanese Prime Minister’s Office, it covered more than 18,000 suicides between 1972-2013, in an age group of children. and adolescents under the age of 18, it concluded that most children who committed suicide got rid of their lives in late August and during the month of September and mid-April, respectively, meaning that suicide cases increase with the beginning of the school year and enrollment Students in schools, in addition to the fact that the number of suicides was lower in the middle of the holidays, and the study showed that the main cause of suicide among primary and middle school students is family problems of scolding parents and constant friction with them.
It is not limited to family problems only, but extends to what the world knows as “bullying”, where students’ harassment of each other in schools contributes to the suicide of the weak among them, and returning to school from summer vacation represents a psychological nightmare that many children seem unfit to deal with.
In 2006, after careful investigation of the children who committed suicide, the police noticed that most of them were under constant school pressure, and that it was the main source of their problems. says “If you are from Japan, you definitely know one or two suicides,” teacher Yumi Nakata. “I know two people, including a girl who studied with me in high school, and she hanged herself because she was being harassed by her friends at school.”
The dynamic of traditional groupthink contributes to increasing the isolation of those who suffer because of these harassment, as the individual fails to engage in the group, any group, according to which he becomes an outcast from the rest of the individuals, and his suffering increases accordingly, which is what Pediatrician psychiatrist Ken Takaoka confirms, saying that school environments give A priority for the group, “children who don’t get along with the group will suffer.” After a student commits suicide, the school likely will not recognize a connection between his suicide and the harassment.
Entrance exams pose another pressure on teenagers and young adults, because they are considered one of the most difficult exams in the world, and students face them from a young age. In addition to regular schools, primary and middle school students go to the so-called “compulsory school,” which are specialized schools that train students to achieve certain goals such as getting good grades or passing entrance exams in secondary schools or universities, where students enroll in them. Secondary schools to pass the admissions stage, and then they do it again to enter the university. Thus, exposure to such tests at an early age, while continuing for years, generates a state of great pressure and anxiety for fear of failing to pass any of them, and thus suicide here seems an ideal way out.
The psychological pressure on the young man continues during and after graduating from the university as well. It is customary for graduates to be employed at the same time every year. Companies start looking for qualified students during university and after graduation every year at a specific date, and then there is great competition from They accepted these jobs, and the life of the young man is linked to this job. If he fails to obtain it, this means that his life is doomed to failure and hopeless, and therefore he tends to feel depressed. This system puts students under tremendous pressure, as they have to research and prepare themselves for jobs while they study. Japan is classified as one of the most competitive countries when it comes to obtaining prestigious jobs, so competition is fierce to the point of eliminating life in the event of failure, and relinquishment and introversion, or what is known as the “hikikomori” phenomenon, is the first sign of suicide.