A YouTube star is under fire for posting a video of a dead body he found in Japan’s “Suicide Forest”.
The video, which has since been taken down, featured the blurred face of a man who recently hung himself in Aokigahara, a forest at the base of Japan’s famous Mount Fuji. According to Japanese mythology, the forest is thought to be haunted by the spirits of the dead - a mythology enforced by being a notorious modern suicide site.
"We came here with an intent to focus on the 'haunted' aspect of the forest," YouTuber Logan Paul says after discovering the body. The plan had been to spend 24 hours in the haunted forest as part of his vlogs for a trip to Japan. The video took a dark turn after finding the body shortly upon entering the forest.
The video begins with Logan and friends marching off the beaten path with sleeping bags in tow, with generally upbeat music to mark the occasion. The mood quickly changes after Logan announces that he found a dead body hanging from a tree a few hundred meters along their path of travel.
While their Japanese guide called the police the video zooms in on the corpse, showing bloated hands but blurring the face.
Immediately following Logan and crew spoke to the camera to convey a thoughtful message on depression and suicide prevention, which was immediately replaced by on-screen antics as Logan and friends tried to joke away the shock of the tragedy.
Logan immediately took fire from fellow YouTubers and social media for posting the video, even though he announced that the video would be not be monetized. He then took down the video and issued an apology on Twitter.
The backlash mounting, Logan took to YouTube on Tuesday to issue a stronger, more heartfelt apology from Japan.
"I've made a severe and continuous lapse in my judgment,” Logan began, “and I don't expect to be forgiven. I'm simply here to apologize.”
"The reactions you saw on tape were raw, they were unfiltered. None of us knew how to react, or how to feel. I should have never posted the video. I should have put the cameras down and stopped recording what we were going through. There's a lot of things I should have done differently. And for that, and from the bottom of my heart, I'm sorry."