Thanaviewing, the Aokigahara Forest, and Orientalism: Rhetorical Separations Between the Self and the Other in The Forest
The Forest depicts the journey of an American woman to Aokigahara Forest in Mount Fuji, Japan, Sara, who is searching for her lost twin sister, Jess. Known for its association with death, the real Aokigahara is used by the filmmakers as a horror film setting. The Forest provides a virtual lens through which audiences can experience a tourist site famous, in part, for the large number of people who commit suicide there. This chapter argues that the virtual representation of Sara’s journey through the forest constructs a narrative that exoticizes Asian culture and emphasizes entertainment and enjoyment at the cost of understanding and appreciation.