GATEKEEPER at Japan's ''Suicide Forest'' hopes music can save lives.

FROM his hut on the edge of Japan's ''Suicide Forest'', Kyochi Watanbe blasts John Lennon's  ''Imagine'' into the night - hoping that music will can lift people from their despair before it's too late.

The 60-year-old musician has been waging an eight-year battle to banish the vast forest's morbid reputation by reaching out to those who come to end their lives.

But now he fears his work is being undone.

The forest, known as Aokighara made global headlines last year when  YouTube star Logan Paul filmed an episode of his online series there, showing a suicide victim at the site.

The footage sparked outrage and infuriated Watanbe, who was born nearby and has spent most of his life in and around the forest.

''It's a forest of nature. It's a forest of religion. It's not that kind of a place.'' he said.

''Do people want to make this forest a hell?'' he said, calling it ''so painful'' to see the woods depicted in such a grim fashion.

Watanbe now lives in a hut on the edge of Aokigahara, which means ''a field of blue trees''.

As night falls, he flips on speakers outside his secluded home and blasts rock and hip-hop into the darkness, breaking the thick silence of the ocean of trees.

He believes music is a way to reach people engulfed in inner turmoil, and describes seeing people turn around and leave the forest when they hear the blasting tunes.

Sometimes he plays guitar and sings his favorite songs into a microphone to break the silence. [Agencies]

The sadness of this research publishing continues.


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