“NAGORO, Japan — The last children were born in the remote mountain village of Nagoro 18 years ago.
Now, just over two dozen adults live in this outpost straddling a river on the Japanese island of Shikoku. The elementary school closed its doors in 2012, shortly after the last two students completed sixth grade.
But on a recent bright autumn Sunday, Tsukimi Ayano brought the school back to life.
It just so happened that she did it with dolls rather than humans.
Ms. Ayano, 70, had arrayed more than 40 handmade dolls in a lifelike tableau on the grounds of the shuttered school. Recreating a school sports day known as “undokai,” a staple of the Japanese calendar, she had posed child-size dolls in a footrace, perched on a swing set and tossing balls.
“We never see children here anymore,” said Ms. Ayano, who was born in Nagoro, and has staged an annual doll festival for the last seven years.”
David Lindsay: Comment to NYT
What a lovely, strange story by Motoko Rich and Nadia Shira Cohen. Thank you. Dr of Nothing commented to this extraordinary piece: “What we are seeing here is a town at the end of its lifespan, but also a society and culture in significant decline. Japan is predicted to have half its current population by the end of the century, so this is more than just a retreat, its a collapse.”
I must disagree completely. Japan is one of the most overpopulated places in the planet, and naturalists are suggesting that for the life as we know it to be sustainable, and with other creatures, we need to reduce world population from 7.6 to perhaps 4 billion. That the Japanese are doing their part to bring their own country to more sustainable human numbers, to allow for other species, and clean air and water, and less climate change is magnificent.
Wikipedia reports, “According to the World Bank, the population of Japan as of 2018 is at 126.5 million, including foreign residents. The population of only Japanese nationals was 124.8 million in January 2019.
Japan was the world’s tenth-most populous country as of 2018. “ They showed that in 1910, the population was only about 51 million.
This fact that overpopulated states are going down in population is not bad news. It is good news, and a necessary part of our survival through a slowing of climate change and the sixth extinction of species.
David Lindsay Jr. is an author of “The Tay Son Rebellion” and blogs at InconvenientNews.net.