Nagoro – Valley of Scarecrow Dolls

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It wouldn’t be surprising to hear about a village counting down its population as one by one the residents move out, in search of a better life. But a village Nagoro, which belongs to one of the valleys of Shikoku, Japan has a different story after the relocation of the residents. Here is the brief story for you.


There are number valleys and associated villages surrounded by the sacred peaks of the Katsuragi Mountains. As the social and economic resources and other facilities are comparatively low, the villagers started moving out the place in search of jobs, few decades ago. Some of the people died because of various reasons. TsukimiAyano belongs to the same village and spent all her childhood there. Thirteen years ago she happened move back to Nagoro to cherish her old moments spent there and settle down in the village for the rest of her life. But by the time she comes back, there are barely any people left in the village. She still didn’t quit. She stayed at the very same house where she spent her childhood with her parents who are no more.


Tsukimi started taking care of the garden that was created by her dad in their backyard. One day she made a life-size Scarecrow doll which was meant to be resembling her dad to frighten the birds that were pecking out the seeds she planted in the garden. She couldn’t stop with one. She made few more dolls which are lookalikes of the neighbors, friends, relatives and villagers that she remember from her olden days there.


Today there are more than 300 life size dolls living in that village. A place where residents were hopeless and left for better place to live in, became world famous for the same reason. Just that it couldn’t become popular with people but is well known for the giant dolls that replaced them. Tsukimi’s hobby of making dolls slowly has recreated the whole village.

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She has filled the local school with these dolls. Now there are class rooms full of students, teachers and other characters. It’s like an animated film. You can see characters everywhere but not put up randomly. Every character has a placement and purpose. You can see villagers waiting at the bus stop, Kids playing in the streets, Old people talking to each other in back yards, a young guy fishing, and many other scenes that are so lively and real-like.

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Her creativity couldn’t get the villagers back but her grief for having a crowded village is resolving slowly. As the village got famous, there are a lot of visitors and media personalities travelling all the way to Nagoro to have a look at the dolls and meet Tsukimi. Hopefully the villagers come back too and make it a real village again.


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