Abandoned House Project/空き家プロジェクト

Postcards from Neo!

If you found your way to this page through the QR code on the postcards from Neo Village – Thank you for participating in this project and finding your way to this page!!
Since most of the postcards are in Japanese, here is my idea:

Upload a post or story on instagram (Post is preferred) with the photo of the Postcard and hashtag #postcardfromneo
We will collectively translate the message on the postcard into English in comments. If you choose to upload story please tag me (@kartumbi) for me to find your story.

Using the hashtag #postcardfromneo , I am hoping that we will read all the messages received from different people of Neo.

The senders of these postcards are old men and women of Neo, a village in Gifu prefecture of Japan. I was staying in Neo for a few months as an artist in residence and was welcome by this community. They are very warm people with a lot of love and affection. This project is my way of sending that warmth beyond borders- geographical and linguistic.
I am hoping this will work out 🙂


Japan faces a ‘problem’ of abandoned houses. Houses that are not lived-in anymore but objects and items are left as it is. Many reasons have been attributed to this abandoned house situation, the major ones being decreasing population and aging population . The older population can no more manage the houses by themselves. They live with their children (who are in their 50s or 60s) who moved to the major cities for better jobs and opportunities. Other reasons for houses left abandoned are narrow roads and no proper access/ connection to other cities, poor infrastructure.

When I first visited an abandoned house it was was fascinating how items were left as if someone was to return in an hour. Bowls and tableware on the table, items neatly placed on the shelf, half-full/empty whisky bottle, but a pile of letters at the door to tell no one was here to receive it for years.

Through this project I aim to explore and find the stories of abandoned houses. The people who lived, laughed and things they did. I never saw abandoned houses as a ‘problem’ at the first place. It was a place of stories, memories left in items. I am more interested in the stories that were and will arise than finding the problem and solution to this situation.

This project is also a part of my Masters program at Institute of Advanced Media Arts and Sciences (IAMAS) but I hope to continue it even after I graduate. I will be exploring the abandoned houses in Neo village in Motosu city in Gifu prefecture. I will be writing about this project on my blog and updating the links here.

Watch a personal documentary where I talk about the nostalgia I felt when I visited an abandoned house for the first time.

Kartika Menon View All →

Exploring and experimenting with paper cutting, animation and sketching. Deeply interested in old art practices of Japan. Currently obsessed with abandoned houses in Japan!

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