Japan America Society of Colorado


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Japanese Friendship Doll Program

  • Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls and Toys 1880 North Gaylord Street Denver, CO, 80206 United States (map)
Miss Yokohama 019.2.jpg

Join us at the Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls and Toys to learn about this history of the Japanese Doll Exchange of the early 1920's!

Have you ever heard about the Japanese Friendship Doll program?  

Dr. Sidney Gulick was a former missionary who spent time in Japan between 1888 and 1913. He was familiar with how important dolls are in Japanese culture, and to promote goodwill between the countries he initiated a program to send dolls from the US to children in Japan.   In 1927, the first project was to organize the sending of 12,739 friendship dolls, also known as American blue-eyed dolls to Japan. These dolls arrived in time for Hinamatsuri, the annual Japanese doll festival.

Inspired by this act of goodwill, Viscount Eiichi Shibusawa led a collection in Japan to reciprocate for this gift. The best doll makers in Japan were commissioned to produce 58 friendship dolls. Each doll was 32-33 inches tall and were dressed in beautiful kimonos made of silk. Each doll also came with unique accessories. These Japanese friendship dolls represented specific Japanese prefectures, cities or regions. The dolls were sent to libraries and museums throughout the United States.

The doll that we have here in Denver is Ms. Yokohama.  It's a bit of a mystery that we have Ms. Yokohama - because we were originally given Ms. Nagoya.

Please come and join us at the Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls and Toys on Monday, March 26th at 10:30am to see Ms. Yokohama and learn more about the history of this fascinating exchange.

This is a wonderful family program while students are on Spring Break!

Museum is located at 1880 Gaylord Street, Denver, CO 80206.


Fill out the form below so we know to expect you!  Space is limited to 20 participants.

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