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'The Lost World': Japan's abandoned rural spaces

CNN -- Jul 06
Simply saying the word "Japan" can bring up images of manga, maid cafes and neon lights. But for Dutch photographer Maan Limburg, Japan is a series of rural landscapes punctuated by empty houses.

Her photographs of these places -- from houses departed in the wake of natural disasters to closed-down theaters with the lights still cued up -- are now featured in a book, "The Lost World," which published in May.

Japan has one of the oldest populations in the world, with an estimated one in every 1,500 people over the age of 100. As more young people move to the cities in search of jobs, rural areas have become more difficult to maintain.

And that's not the only major force affecting Japan's landscape. Events like earthquakes, typhoons and the Fukushima nuclear disaster have also caused widespread destruction or abandonment.

Enter the phenomenon of akiya, or ghost houses.

A 2014 government report sounded the alarm, saying that, should things continue at the present rate, about 900 villages and towns throughout Japan will be "extinct." ...continue reading

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