Tsukimi Ayano isn't your average arts and crafts lover. Facing rapid population decline in her tiny Japanese village, she has been making life-sized scarecrows as tributes for those who have died or moved away for the past decade.
According to Associated Press, 35 residents are left in Nagoro, roughly one fifth of its current scarecrow population, which stands at 150. However, Ayano says that she will continue to make the mannequins as long as she is healthy. So expect Nagoro's non-living population numbers to rise, while its living residents, of which Ayano at 65 is considered a youngster, will continue to decline.
Population decline is a serious problem in Japan. According to a 2010 census, Japan's population stood at 128.06 million and the number is expected to plunge below 100 million before 2054. The number of children under the age of 15 has already tumbled from 27 million in the 1980s to 16 million in 2010.
Nagoro's school, which closed in 2012 after its last 2 students graduated, is now populated with Ayano's make-believe pupils. The silent students sit attentively at their desks, a creepy solution to a serious problem.