Gatekeeper at Japan's 'Suicide Forest' hopes music can save lives

By Shingo Ito

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How bout Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now?

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Change that music, better something with more enthusiasm..

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From his hut on the edge of Japan's "Suicide Forest", Kyochi Watanabe blasts John Lennon's "Imagine" into the night

With this guy blaring that Marxist inspired pablum all over the tranquil forest of Aokigahara it’s no wonder people are killing themselves there.

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Singing a song is hardly likely to change a persons mind if they're already dead set on doing themselves in.

I wonder how this person survives ? Living of his own savings ?

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Waiting for my Christmas stock.... :-)

Back on topic you are correct. Japan has a different perspective on suicide, in Britain in recent memory if one attempted suicide and survived... they were sent to prison.

Merry Christmas to all

To face death with a smile and say “bring it on” does not sound like a coward or “the easy way out” to me.

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Suicidal acts in combat are seen as the highest form of bravery. Perhaps in non Judeo-Christian societies suicide for atonement is seen as the same.

It is the human instinct to avoid death at all costs. Which is why humans are capable of near superhuman acts when faced with death.

To face death with a smile and say “bring it on” does not sound like a coward or “the easy way out” to me.

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@Gobshite Merry Christmas

Yes weakest for if they had the desire to fix and or overcome the adversity as so many millions before them have, they would not make the choice. You Chalk it up as a loss that day, sleep and field a better mental view the next morning, you don't quit.

Quitters are weak, so yes I believe I was on point.

Its cold blooded but it's a straight no sugar to the point view, if someone told me they were gonna off themselves I would say go ahead, be 1 less idiot in the world! As cold as that sounds that may be enough for them to go ahead and do it quickly OR maybe present a different tangent for them to plot out!

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Not sure why they would automatically be called the weakest. Not an easy decision to make, while many would become dependent on others, which is a weakness. Society needs to accept some people don't like things, and should offer solutions, especially to serious/terminal illnesses.

Nature always will weed out the weakest

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I just got back from the local supermarket, over the speakers they played "Happy Christmas War is Over" by some Japanese singer..... honestly it was so bad Aokigahara seemed a good place to go :-)

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Don’t Try Suicide by Queen

Kyoichi could do it in Japanese. Who knows, maybe they’ll start dancing, clapping and singing along.

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"Being force fed "Imagine" just might push me over the edge." Probably best to avoid playing the Jim Caroll Band or the Cowboy Junkies, as well.

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Suicide is nobody's business except the person who has deemed they have had enough! Mother Nature always will weed out the weakest, yes what I type is of cold blooded nature. Who are we to intervene when this decision is made? We do not own the person in question they own themselves and are free to do as they want and or wish.

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@kabuki. You are right about depression treatment. In my hospital which has a big wing full of psychiatric patients, heavy use of drug therapy is the norm. My mother-in-laws care home is the same

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I can see how this would work although, it’s not because the music is stopping them. These wayward souls go into a quiet forest to find somewhere peaceful to be alone and take their own lives. Hearing noise (any noise) would make them feel they are not alone. Then, they would go to a quieter place and do it.

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The fact is that people have different reactions to music. Some people might not like “Imagine.” And some people would not like to have any kind of music forced on them. I love “Imagine” but I would not like to have to hear it when I am communing with nature. The music might induce suicides for all we know.

It would much better if mental health services were better. Today depressed generally don’t get talk therapy, they get drugs and more drugs.

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worry about the animals, but at least he is trying do something. authorities don't seem to care. watched a documentary about him. he is a good person.

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The noise pollution in Japan is enough to drive anyone to suicide, blasting yet more unwanted noise into this forest can only make it worse!

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Commanteer, I agree, ditch Imagine. I hate that song. I will say this, though: at least the guy is out there, trying to make a difference. And talking that man down is commendable.

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I'm not so sure he's on the right track here. Being force fed "Imagine" just might push me over the edge.

And there will always be places that attract the suicidal. The Golden Gate Bridge is one. Talking to people is a great idea. But blasting music at them...?

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I hope blasting rock ‘n’ roll into the forest at night won’t have a bad effect on animals living there.

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I would think that blaring noise from loudspeakers into an otherwise tranquil forest would increase rather than decrease the odds of someone committing suicide.

For those not suffering from mental illness, sure. I go into nature regularly for it's restorative qualities and seek out solitude and silence. Even for those of healthy mind, I'd guess that may not be as appealing in Japan. Having lived your entire life with all that white noise, the constant nanny-speak about how escalators work, the roving vehicles blaring nonsense out of loudspeakers. I suspect for many the silence of nature would be rather unsettling, and especially those who are sick.

And the visitors to this area looking for ghoulish kicks, including the girl ridiculing Paul, are just repugnant. Like she's not posting photos to her instagram account.

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Well I think the relevant metric you’d be looking for would be the change in rate of suicides since this movie was made, rather than just an absolute number.

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While I admire his motives and dedication, I would think that blaring noise from loudspeakers into an otherwise tranquil forest would increase rather than decrease the odds of someone committing suicide.

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I’m curious to know just how many people have killed themselves on this forest since the fictional film was made. One would think that to be a relevant point to this article.

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Cutting all the trees down would be too drastic a solution, perhaps.

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As night falls, he flips on speakers outside his secluded home and blasts rock and hip-hop into the darkness, breaking the thick silence of the ocean of trees.

"It's a forest of nature. It's a forest of religion"

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