Mount Fuji, that great summit on the Japanese mainland, dominates its surroundings with a brazen majesty. One of Japan’s trio of holy peaks and so beloved of Hokusai, its snowy cone thrusts into the air as if trying in vain to marry land with sky. Naturally, Fuji has become an unmistakable symbol of Japan and is revered and celebrated throughout the nation’s history. Yet, almost unknown to Westerners, a very different place to the serene mountain sprawls at its base. A vast forest where the soil is fed by more than the usual leaf litter, long has Aokigahara Jukai been a name to whisper after dark. In lean years gone by impoverished local inhabitants would bring those that could not feed themselves to the forest to die. The elderly and infirm, the young and disturbed would die long, drawn-out demises starving to death, their unheeded cries stifled by the notorious denseness of the trees.