Thirteen years ago, Tsukimi Ayano made her first scarecrow, hoping to chase away the birds that kept destroying the contents of her garden. She thought that the doll looked a lot like her father, so she made more of them. Today, Ayano’s village, Nagoro in southern Japan, is full of her hand sewn scarecrows. They have been positioned to represent an exhibition that shows moments from every day life in Nagoro. There are scarecrows posing in houses, trees, bus stops, fields and streets. There are only thirty-five people in the village, but there are one hundred fifty scarecrows.
The population of Nagoro has taken a hit because of many of the villagers leaving for the larger cities in order to look for work. Many of the villages in the Japanese countryside have been a victim of this trend, with mostly senior citizens left behind in them. This community and others, are reflecting the entire country of Japan, the population of which has been gradually dropping for ten years and is predicted to lower from 127 million to 87 million by 2060. Ayano, 65, is one of the youngest people living in her village. Some villages request scarecrows made to resemble their deceased or relocated family members.