“Emigration, forced or chosen, across national frontiers or from village to metropolis, is the quintessential experience of our time”*…
Nagoro is a remote village, tucked into the valleys of Shikoku Island in Japan. It was once hosted a thriving company, supporting hundreds of inhabitants. But its younger residents moved to bigger cities over the years in search of better jobs, abandoning the village permanently. The company is long gone, and Nagaro’s population is dwindling as the older villagers, left behind, continue to die.
Artist Ayano Tsukimi was one of those who left. She returned 11 years ago, to find her home much changed: the population had shrunk to under 40. So Tsukimi decided to repopulate the place herself – with handmade dolls. These dolls can be seen across the village on benches, in the street, outside her home, working in farms, and even lounging about the abandoned school compound. Over the last decade, she has sewn around 350 life-size dolls, each one representing a former villager…
Read more at “Japan’s Valley of the Dolls“; and see more in this video:
* John Berger
As we channel Chucky, we might recall that it was on this date in 1932 that an attempted coup was launched in Japan by reactionary members of the Imperial Navy, in league with what was left of the ultra nationalist League of Blood. They were reacting to the Japanese government’s ratification of the London Naval Treaty, limiting the size of the Imperial Japanese Navy. In what has become known as “the May 15 Incident,” eleven young naval officers assassinated Prime Minister Inukai Tsuyoshi. The rebellion was put down, and the eleven conspirators quickly arrested.
In that trial that followed, strong popular support for the rebels– sympathizers sent the court a petition for leniency signed, in blood, by 350,000– led to light sentences, which in turn led to further erosion of rule of law and democratic process, laying the base for the explosive expansion of nationalism and militarism in Japan that tipped the nation toward World War II.