Retracing One’s Last Step In Japan’s Suicide Forest

 

Photographer Taro Karibe is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this photo essay.  From his project ‘i-shi: Suicide Forest‘.  To see Taro’s body of work click on any image.

 

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Every year, dozens of bodies are found in Aokigahara ‘sea of forest’ or ‘suicide forest’, located in the skirts of Mount Fuji.

If I step into the forest under the sunlight filtered by trees, I can easily find human trace marks.
Plastic ropes put for routing so that they can get out of the forest, camp fire site and white human bones.

 

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I decided to photograph those things and the scenery of the forest to understand the mind process of those people who come in, stay for a while, and make irreversible decision in the forest.

The main way of suicide in the forest is hanging. It takes 10 seconds to get unconscious, after they hanged themselves. I exposed same time and tried to trace the image that they may see at the last moment.
After started shooting, little by little I felt like the border between life and death became a blur.

 

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This project is finding the relationship between ‘I’ and ‘shi'(‘death’ in Japanese).

In Japanese, ‘ishi’ has several meanings: mind, remains of human, and death by hanging.

 

See also:

Mitori: Terminal Care in Japan

By Taro Karibe

 


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