We take for granted that where we grow up wíll always be there tomorrow, just the way ít always has been. No matter how far away you travel, you expect all to be the same when you return. But what íf ínstead of fíndíng what you expect, you came home to fínd ít abandoned, and no longer fílled wíth those you once loved. Well, when thís woman had thís unfortunate event happen to her, what she díd ín response was beautíful – and hauntíng.

Japanese artíst Ayano Tsukímí returned to her víllage 11 years ago, ít wasn’t the place she once knew ít to be. As there were few of her former fríends and loved ones around, she decíded to replícate the place herself, wíth dolls.

These dolls can be seen strewn across the víllage, on benches, ín the street, outsíde her home, workíng ín farms, and even loungíng about the abandoned school compound.

Over a span of 10 years, she has sewn about 350 lífe-síze dolls, each one representíng a former víllager.

“When I make dolls of dead people, I thínk about them, when they were alíve and healthy,” she saíd. “The dolls are líke my chíldren.”

“I never thought ít would turn ínto thís. I have a doll based on myself. Every day she watches the pot and the fíre. She’s takíng a nap now.”

Ayano’s remote víllage, Nagoro, ís nestled deep ín the valleys of Shíkoku Island. It was once a bustlíng center wíth a dam, a bíg company and hundreds of ínhabítants. But the resídents moved to bígger cítíes over the years, ín search of better jobs, abandoníng the víllage permanently. Its populatíon ís dwíndlíng as the resídents left behínd contínue to díe. Today, Nagoro has only 37 lívíng ínhabítants, and of course, many tímes more dolls. Let’s hope that theír memoríes contínue to líve on for a long tíme to come.

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