Kyun-chome: Connected to something
At the foot of Japan’s symbol, Mt. Fuji, lays a vast forest called Jukai (Sea of Trees).
It's rumored that once you enter the forest you lose a sense of direction and can't find a way out. The forest is also well-known suicide spot. Those who are lost deep inside, set off for the final destination—death.
Wandering among thick trees many of them ask themselves whether they should go on or return.
There are many ropes on the ground left by those who had thought of turning back.
We followed those ropes leading somewhere deep in the forest in hope they'd guide us to someone as in "hide-and-seek."
Hide-and-seek is a common children's game in Japan. One calls out "Are you ready?" while others are hiding. They answer "I’m ready" if they are, or "Not yet" if not.
People waver between life and death in the forest, as if in "hide-and-seek." Calling out "Are you ready," we headed towards the heart of the forest.
Deep in the forest we'd wait for an answer.
The first day in Sea of Trees:
We have found many human traces—gear to keep the body warm, cigarette butts and sake cartons. Everyone who had been there hesitated to die.
The second day in Sea of Trees:
We have found a hanging rope. No body. Though we haven't seen a body, it was clear that people come here to end their lives. It made us so sad and powerless that we just kept shouting "Are you ready?"
The third day in Sea of Trees:
For the first time in the forest we've got suddenly locked with a feeling that we shouldn't go any further. But we did. Then we found "him." On a really tall tree. On a rope connecting him and the tree.