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Valley of dolls

6 minutes

Dolls replace former residents in a remote, depopulating Japanese village

Sixty-four-year-old Ayano Tsukimi lives in Nagoro, a remote Japanese village far from any major city. When she was a child, the village was bustling, but Nagoro is nearly deserted now. Its residents have grown old and died, or moved on to bigger towns as the jobs disappeared. Tsukimi pays homage to her old friends and neighbours in a unique way: by repopulating the town with life-size dolls. Drawing upon childhood memories, Tsukimi spends months on her creations, trying to get the clothing, posture and facial expressions just right. In Valley of Dolls, the director Fritz Schumann tells the story of a remarkable response to death, dying and Japan’s rapidly ageing population.

Director: Fritz Schumann

Producer: Fritz Schumann

Support Aeon

Ideas can change the world

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.

But we can’t do it without you.

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the world’s leading thinkers, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

Become a Friend for $5 a month or Make a one-off donation

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