DARK DISCUSSIONS Explores THE FOREST (2016) — with these resources, you can, too!


Dark Discussions Episode 215 masthead by Philip Perron.

The recent film The Forest may not have gotten such great reviews, but the crew at Dark Discussions took time out to discuss its good points, its bad ones, and its setting: the fascinating Aokigahara Jukai Forest (Japan’s Suicide Forest).

Below, links to the episode, as well as a list of resources for those who might be interested in learning more about this macabre environment—a real place where, on average, 100 people take their lives per year—that the film (although shot in Serbia; permission to work in the forest is almost never granted) depicted well.

Note: For a place so mysterious and strange, there hasn’t been a whole lot written about it on the nonfiction front—at least not here in the U.S. Years ago, I had read articles about the place in the URI library’s microfilm/microfiche area, but apparently none of those old articles are readily available (we’re going back to the early ’90s, folks — I have a pile of old thermal print-outs in my basement which don’t even scan well). The few articles that are available on the Internet are more recently published and might include common information, but it’s enough to get a layman’s lowdown on the place.

Please note in addition that there are some famous books only rendered in Japanese. Because yes, we can buy them, but most of us can’t read them, I didn’t include those here. Maybe in the future they’ll be available in translation and I can update this post.

Also, I put out no disclaimers about graphic content. If you’re looking up stuff about a suicide forest, you should know what you’re getting into.

The Forest (2016) Poster

Maybe someday someone will write a definitive nonfiction book about the forest. If you know of one, please drop me a line!

You can listen to Dark Discussions episode 215 here: http://www.darkdiscussions.com/Pages/podcast_215.html


(not sure if this is official, but it contains good information)



Suicide Forest in Japan

This 21-minute documentary, which was released by VICE a few years ago, follows a geologist who actually does “suicide patrols” in the park. There’s a quiet sadness about this piece that really hits home. Subtitled. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FDSdg09df8

Suicide Forest: Spectacular Beauty with a Frightening and Dark Secret

This ABC-7 Eyewitness News report focuses on the forest’s preternatural silence, the government’s silence, and the vegetation’s inability to penetrate the forest floor.



The Basement Geographer: Aokigahara: The Suicide Forest

HIGH RECOMMEND. Following the article, there is a detailed list of sources with links. This is the best place to start – this person did his homework.


CREEPY CORNER: My Trip to Aokigahara, Japan’s “Suicide Forest”

This woman visited the forest. Contains photos of the real ice caves (mentioned in the film) and comments on the forest’s almost unnatural stillness. GREAT PHOTOS! http://www.xojane.com/fun/aokigahara-suicide-forest-japan

“Sea of Blue Foliage: A Night in the Suicide Forest”

A four-part series about a man brave enough to hitchhike and stay in the forest. While a little heavy on unnecessary metaphors and similes in a couple of spots, it’s still eloquently written long-form that’s DEFINITELY worth a read.





Aokigahara: Japan’s Haunted Forest of Death

This article has an interesting section on how the forest affects the locals. http://www.tofugu.com/2012/07/23/aokigahara-japans-haunted-forest-of-death/

‘Suicide forest’: Curiosity seekers go deep into Japanese woods known for suicides

Another personal journey into the forest; wonderful detail.



(that I’ve read and could recommend to those interested in the forest)

Sea of Trees, a novella by Robert James Russell http://amzn.com/0985154853

Suicide Forest, by Jeremy Bates http://amzn.com/0993764622

Suicide Forest, by El Torres and Gabriel Hernandez (comic) http://amzn.com/B00919U9P2

The Suffering, by Rin Chupeco http://amzn.com/1492629847


(available only)

Forest of Death

The Pang brothers’ fictional exploration of the subject. http://amzn.com/B001PJRAVC

About kristipetersenschoonover

A ghost story writer who still sleeps with the lights on, Kristi Petersen Schoonover’s fiction has appeared in many magazines and anthologies; her traditionally published books include a short story collection, THE SHADOWS BEHIND. She was the recipient of three Norman Mailer Writers Colony Residencies and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College. She serves as co-host of the DARK DISCUSSIONS podcast, as founding editor of the dark literary journal 34 ORCHARD, and is a member of both the New England Horror Writers and the Horror Writers Association. Follow her adventures at kristipetersenschoonover.com.

Posted on January 28, 2016, in Dark Discussions - Film Talk, Deep Thoughts & Fun Stuff, News and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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