Kasoka – Valley of Dolls – Documentary by Fritz Schumann

June 18, 2014 Juju Kurihara 0 Comments

kasoka 2According to the report of the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport issued in March 2014, 60% of the land in Japan will be uninhabited by 2050. As we all know, the birth rate in Japan is declining to 1.4 in 2013 (WHO) and one in four is over 65 years old. I know all of that and yet, it´s shocking when I see the actual number.

Kasoka (過疎化), depopulation is and has been a serious problem in Japan. I learnt the word when I was in the primary school. But how could 13 year-old Tokyo born kid really understand the phenomenon of Kasoka?


Recently I´ve found this video, Valley of Dolls made by a German film maker, Fritz Schumann. First it was just creepy then I was sad. In 2050, this will be the 60% of Japan….


Valley of Dolls from Fritz Schumann on Vimeo.


ドイツの映画制作者フリッツ・シューマンさんのドキュメンタリー映像「Valley of Dolls(人形の谷)」が、海外で話題となっている。徳島県の山あいの限界集落で等身大の人形を作り続ける女性と、人形を捉えた作品だ。舞台は三好市東祖谷(いや)の名頃(なごろ)地区。ここでは過疎化と高齢化が進む。綾野月美さん(64)は11年前に大阪から名頃に戻り、その翌年、畑の鳥獣対策として父に似せたかかし(人形)を作った。それが始まりだった。綾野さんは、大阪に夫と娘を残し、現在は父親と2人で暮らしているという。






ここに掲載した動画とすべての画像は動画共有サイトVimeoの「Valley of Dolls」より。



Recently a documentary film “Valley of Dolls” made by a German filmmaker, Fritz Schumann is getting attention around the world. This is a film about a Japanese woman who keeps making human-size dolls in a marginal village in a mountain in Tokushima prefecture and her dolls.The village is called Nagoro and there, depopulation is very severe. Tsukimi Ayano (64) moved back to this village from Osaka. Following year, she made a scarecrow, which looked like her father. And that was the beginning. Ms. Ayano left her husband and daughter in Osaka and now lives in the village with her father.

There used to be a few hundred people living in the village but now “We are only 37 habitants. Much more scarecrow than people”, says Ms.Ayano. She has made 350 dolls in these years and she leaves them around the village when she finishes.

The local primary school closed in 2011. She has set pupil dolls and teacher dolls here too. “I only think about dolls.” Ms.Ayano says. The most difficult part is the face because it could be an angry face very easily. “Some people maybe scared because the dolls are too real”, she worries.

Those dolls left outside can last three years, the longest. On the other hand, she doesn´t think about death. “I will live forever”, she says. However considering that it would take at least one hour and a half to the bigger hospital from the village, Ms. Ayano vaguely feels that she would be dead before getting to the hospital if something happens to her here.

The US Huffington Post has picked up this documentary and praised for capturing the tenderness of the woman who tries to protect a declining village, the history of urbanization and the sadness of humanity. There are also some comments from the viewer like “very peaceful” or “I like the way she thinks”.

All the images and the video is from Vimeo,  “Valley of Dolls”.




More about Japanese society

Keirou no hi

Woman agenda

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