Japanese Friendship Dolls
In 1993, Michiko Takaoka of Mukogawa Fort Wright Institute (MFWI) initiated a new Friendship Doll Program to send Japanese Friendship Dolls to American children. She was inspired by the vision and actions of Dr. Sidney Gulick, who organized the original program to send American dolls to Japan in 1927, and his grandson Sidney Gulick, 3d, who has continued the tradition by sending new Friendship Dolls to Japan.
Traditional Japanese dolls are bought; hand-made or ready-made dolls are donated; and they are all shipped to Spokane, Washington. MFWI in turn distributes them to American children, especially around March 3, the date of Hina Matsuri (Doll Festival).
Through this program, over 1,000 dolls have been given to elementary schools, community centers, and museums where the original Japanese Friendship Dolls are kept. Dolls have been sent to all fifty states and Washington, D.C.
If you are interested in learning more about the program, please feel free to contact the Japanese Cultural Center.
The Japanese Cultural
In addition to MFWI's Friendship Doll program, other Japanese schools and individuals have sent Japanese dolls as gifts to American children. The following links provide a few examples:
Photos contributed by Leda Frank
Page | 1927 Doll Exchange | Japanese
Friendship Dolls | American Blue-eyed Dolls