The tiny village of Nagoro on Shikoku, Japan, used to be home to a large company and hundreds of people. Now, there are only 37 inhabitants — or at least, only 37 living inhabitants. Nagoro is also home to scores of life-size stuffed dolls made by 64-year-old Ayano Tsukimi. Tsukimi sews and dresses the dolls and positions them around town to replace her neighbors who have moved away or died.

Tsukimi started her doll project about 10 years ago, after she moved back to her hometown from Osaka. She says she’s made about 350 dolls in that time, though they only last about three years before they need to be replaced. There are now many times more dolls than humans living in Nagoro, and Tsukimi wryly imagines a future where she’s outlived all her neighbors and only dolls remain.

By Jess Zimmerman, GlobalPost
This article is syndicated from GlobalPost.

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