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Dark Tourism as Quasi-Suicide: A Case Study of The Sea of Trees

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Abstract

This paper examines the problem of suicide and the ethical dilemma of transforming suicide sites into tourist attractions. It is suggested that these sites offer liminal opportunities for quasi-suicides and post-suicidal life experiences, without actually undergoing death. Utilising the narrative of the movie titled “Sea of Trees” which takes place in Aokigahara-Jukai, a mysterious dense forest at the base of Japan's Mount Fuji where people go to commit suicide, this essay examines suicidal spots as tourism drivers. The discussion revolves around the belief that dark sites contribute to the formation of public shared values and the perspective that visitation to suicide cites shape positive purposes towards life. The analysis offers valuable clues to position sites built around the narratives of death. Keywords: Death sites, hospitality attributes, suicide tourism, movie, Aokigahara-Jukai.

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... This could be the potential response for the urge on more exploration which calls the possibility for death sites (i.e. as one of dark tourism forms) to be marketable without degrading the values attributed with its profile (Handayani, Ivanov & Korstanje, 2017). This way, future research which is aimed for making death sites remains to be exclusive market offerings but can be consumed for more market shares (Handayani & George, 2017a;Handayani & George, 2017b). In this sense, VR which can be augmented by sensory stimulations e.g. ...
... Technically, the Sound branding i.e. certain selected song(s) is the one that denotes the "darkness" elements of circle of life. As Handayani & George (2017b) put it, people learn to (re)live the goodness of being alive, being vulnerable, being happy and being sad. Presumably these are the most intriguing aspects of life that becomes commodification that may (may not) be useful to be revelation and contemplation for human being (Handayani & George, 2017a). ...
Chapter
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Death is a great unifier, not only for one who is in grief but also those who have similar shared values (i.e., tourist demand for visiting death sites). In this sense, visitation to the death sites denotes its importance to people's lives. However, as types of death sites are distinctively different from one to another, death sites as tourist attraction remains a segmented target market. This chapter looks at some viewpoints for making death sites not only for a segmented target market, which leads to discourse of virtual dark tourism (VDT) formation. With sound branding coupled with augmented reality (AR) as tools to support the claims of virtual dark tourism, death sites, which are considered exclusive touristic market offerings, presumably could be consumed by more target markets. Several issues and direction for future research are discussed.
... It has been claimed that the relationship between tourism and death is more than just dark tourism (Pratt et al., 2019). Attention is now being given, both in the media and in the tourism literature, to what has emerged and been labelled as "suicide tourism" (Yu, Wen, & Yang, 2020;Sperling, 2019;Handayani & George, 2017;Gürcü et al., 2016;Gauthier et al., 2015;Sarchet & New Scientist, 2014). Th e term implies the act of suicide candidates traveling to a place to commit suicide, to be euthanized or to commit assisted suicide. ...
Article
The purpose of this short communication is to deliver a theoretical perspective of suicide tourism within the context of Leiper’s tourism system. Based on the theoretical model, it may be argued whether travel for suicidal purposes meets the requirements to be regarded as a form of tourism. Despite this, the term is widely used in both academia and in the media. The author urges the academic community to provide directions to tourism stakeholders on how to assist those who choose to travel to specific locations to take their own lives. The exposure of places as “suicidal hot spots” should be avoided by the media. This may give the impression of a pseudo-idyllic form of tourism activity with the participant’s own life, while it involves the risk of triggering people’s inquisitiveness of capturing and sharing the macabre moment on social media and help visitors act as observers of the death of others.
Chapter
This study looks at some primary points in the discourse of virtual dark tourism (VDT) formation. Derived from the spectrum of sound branding (SB), virtual reality (VR), coupled with augmented reality (AR), the case is used as a tool to support the claims of VDT. Findings suggest viewpoints for making death sites exclusive, and offer valuable clues to the design of VDT formation as an option to include death sites as market offerings of dark tourism. Guided by social constructionist research philosophy, coupled with semiology and compositional interpretation, the analysis offers valuable clues to position sites built around the narratives of death. Not only does it verify elements of unique and emotional selling propositions in the typology of death sites, but it also signifies the emerging state of the art on the nexus between VDT and SB. Specifically, dark themed songs coupled AR are used as tourism drivers for designing Trunyan Cemetery, Bali. Overall, this review shows preliminary designs for prototype death sites. Several issues and directions for future research are discussed.
Article
Full-text available
This study looks at some primary points in the discourse of virtual dark tourism (VDT) formation. Derived from the spectrum of sound branding (SB), virtual reality (VR), coupled with augmented reality (AR), the case is used as a tool to support the claims of VDT. Findings suggest viewpoints for making death sites exclusive, and offer valuable clues to the design of VDT formation as an option to include death sites as market offerings of dark tourism. Guided by social constructionist research philosophy, coupled with semiology and compositional interpretation, the analysis offers valuable clues to position sites built around the narratives of death. Not only does it verify elements of unique and emotional selling propositions in the typology of death sites, but it also signifies the emerging state of the art on the nexus between VDT and SB. Specifically, dark themed songs coupled AR are used as tourism drivers for designing Trunyan Cemetery, Bali. Overall, this review shows preliminary designs for prototype death sites. Several issues and directions for future research are discussed.
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