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The village of Nagoro on the south-western island of Shikoku, in Japan, was once home to hundreds of residents. But over the years, Nagoro’s population had fallen dramatically as the village's young inhabitants left to find work and better lives in cities, leaving the very old —the pensioners— as Nagoro’s only residents today.

In the early 2000s, when Ayano Tsukimi returned to her home in Nagoro after decades living in the sprawling metropolis of Osaka, she was saddened to find her village resembling a ghost town. So she started making life-sized dolls, one for each resident that had left the village or died, and placed them around the village. Brightly dressed figures crowd outside a shop; another bunch wrapped in winter clothes wait at the bus stop; old ladies sit by the roadside and gaze at the fields beyond. The dolls are everywhere, and they outnumber Nagoro’s actual residents by a factor of ten.

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Scarecrow passengers wait for a bus at a bus stop in Nagoro. Photo credit: Elaine Kurtenbach

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© Amusing Planet, 2016.



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