This Japanese Village Is Being Completely Replaced By Scarecrow People

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at 2015.10.27
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The town of Nagoro, deep in the mountains of southern Japan, has been hit hard by a declining national population in recent years. Japan hit its all time population peak of about 128 million people back in 2010. Since then, the country”s population has fallen off drastically. The problem is so dire that it”s estimated by 2060 the population of Japan will be only about 87 million people.

The birth rate is so low throughout Japan that most young people have left towns like Nagoro to find love and better employment in the big cities. This leaves only the few who are too weak and old to leave. They spend their days milling around the nearly abandoned buildings of their fading towns.

One old woman in Nagoro, Tsukimi Ayano, was fed up with the town looking so empty. So she decided to do something about it. To pass the time while she takes care of her much old father, Ayano sews scarecrows and populates the town with them. Her goal is to bring back some of the charm that it used to have.

When you walk into the village you see all kinds of scarecrows, not necessarily scaring anything, but just kind of chilling.

When you walk into the village you see all kinds of scarecrows, not necessarily scaring anything, but just kind of chilling.

Some of them work. The little ones go to school.

Some of them work. The little ones go to school.

Ayano delicately puts each scarecrow in place as she finishes them.

Ayano delicately puts each scarecrow in place as she finishes them.

She says she tries to recreate scenes and people she remembers from when Nagoro was a much more lively place.

She says she tries to recreate scenes and people she remembers from when Nagoro was a much more lively place.

She stitches each scarecrow person by hand.

She stitches each scarecrow person by hand.

Ayano says there are now over 100 friendly scarecrows hustling and bustling around the mostly abandoned town.

Ayano says there are now over 100 friendly scarecrows hustling and bustling around the mostly abandoned town.

The teenager scarecrows even have defiant swagger. I wonder where I can buy one of those shirts.

The teenager scarecrows even have defiant swagger. I wonder where I can buy one of those shirts.

Being a scarecrow in this town actually looks pretty fun. Very serene.

Being a scarecrow in this town actually looks pretty fun. Very serene.

Via: AP

I”m glad I knew the story behind this before accidentally stumbling upon it on a random expedition through southern Japan. (Since that happens so often.) Without context, this place would be creepy as hell, but once you know what”s going on, it”s actually kind of sweet.

…the next time I feel lonely, I”m just going to fill my house with handmade scarecrows.

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