A Dying Japanese Village Brought Back To Life — By Scarecrows

Ina Jaffe
August 26, 2016

“Japan’s population is declining. And the signs of that are easiest to see in rural areas, like the mountainous interior of the southern island of Shikoku. For example, the village of Nagoro used to have around 300 residents. Now it has 30.

Visitors know they’ve arrived when they see the three farmers in floppy hats resting against a telephone pole by the side of the road. They’re always there. They’re scarecrows, life-sized figures made of cloth and stuffed with cotton and newspapers. The same goes for the man fishing in the creek a bit farther up the road, and the woman working in the potato field and the people waiting at the bus stop.

All of these figures are the work of 67-year-old Tsukimi Ayano. She’s been making them for more than a decade.”

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Photo credit: Ina Jaffe/NPR

Ina Jaffe is a 2016 US-Japan Journalism Fellow.