American Youtuber and renowned asshole Logan Paul earned Internet ire back in January when he uploaded a video about his trip to Japan’s infamously haunted Aokigahara Forest, one of the world’s most popular sites for suicide–a trip in which he and his friends found the body of a recently deceased man hanging from a tree. Seen laughing and making jokes while gathered around the corpse, Paul’s behavior in the video (and his decision to post it) immediately had thousands of users calling for the removal of his channel, accusing him of exploiting and mocking tragedy for views.
Three months later, Japanese Youtuber Sato Taicho decided to venture back into the forest with his own camera, but with a more philanthropic mission in mind: persuading any suicidal visitors out of ending their lives.
Armed with a “Free Hugs” sign (oddly written in English and Korean, but not Japanese), Sato stood at the bus stop at the edge of the forest, on the lookout for potential suicide victims. After two and half hours, he spotted a young man wander off the bus, alone, without any of the typical hiking gear, and head into the woods. He followed at a distance for over 20 minutes, from the more populated gravel trail deeper into the forest, before the boy came to a stop in a clearing.
Then Sato approached him as his cameraman stayed hidden behind a tree, asking the hiker what he came here to do. After several minutes of silence while the other struggled for an answer, Sato continued: “When I saw you get off the bus, the look you had on your face, it….well, it might just be a misunderstanding on my part, but, this is a place where many people come to end their lives, to commit suicide…”
The man affirmed that it was, and Sato asked if he’d been going through a hard time lately. The man told him that he’d recently been fired, and had gone into severe debt; to find common ground, Sato related a story of his own struggles with abuse at his previous job, before finding happiness and hope in a new direction. Begging the man not to give up on living, Sato asked him if he can take him back to the bus stop. After a pause, the man agreed; the two hug, and Sato watched as the man boarded the bus away from the place he planned to die.
At first it seems like a heartwarming story, but ultimately, the video has proved divisive among internet commenters. Some were moved by seeing a life saved by Sato’s kindness; others saw it as another cheap trick trivializing depression for attention.
As translated by SoraNews24, here are some of the comments:
“All I see here is a YouTuber’s ploy to get attention.”
“Was there any point to putting this on YouTube?”
“I think the whole thing is staged.”
That was deeply moving.”
“Incredibly kind. I respect him for doing that, and hope I can be that kind of person.”
“Even if went to Aokigahara for the purpose of making a video, there’s nothing wrong with what he did there.”
“People can debate all they want about whether or not he should have made the video, but the undeniable truth is that he stopped that man from killing himself.”
“What Logan Paul did was wrong, but I have no complaints about this.”
They say there’s no such thing as an unselfish good deed; maybe that’s true. I think maybe it can be both: at the end of the day, whether his motivations are entirely pure, the video looks as though it may have saved a life. And maybe it could save others? What do you think?
Watch the full video below:
Via Sora News 24