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Japanese Friendship Dolls


Poster for Miss Kagawa's
homecoming to Japan


Many of the Japanese Friendship Dolls have made homecomings to Japan for restoration. These homecomings to the prefectures the dolls are named after have generated much excitement, and many Japanese people enjoyed seeing these friendship ambassadors who had served for so many years in a foreign land across the Pacific Ocean.

Miss Hyogo returned home in 1997, and one of the people to greet her warmly at her homecoming was a woman who said goodbye to her 70 years before in 1927. Read about Miss Hyogo's historic homecoming in the article "Miss Hyogo: Tireless Reminder."

In 1974, Miss Hiroshima became the first Japanese Friendship Doll to return to Japan. Since then, many of the dolls have gone back to Japan for restoration and exhibit.

Yoshitoku, a Tokyo doll manufacturer and distributor founded in 1711, has performed restoration work on many of the dolls that have returned to Japan. Tokubei Yamada 10th, President of Yoshitoku when the American Friendship Dolls were received in 1927, oversaw the crafting of 51 of the 58 Japanese Torei Ningyo (Dolls of Gratitude) sent to America as an expression of the gratitude of children throughout Japan. The Heizo Ohki Company, a Kyoto doll-making company still in business today, made Miss Japan and the six dolls named after cities (Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya, Yokohama, and Kobe). Heizo Ohki has also been involved in the restoration of Japanese Friendship Dolls, including Miss Yokohama.

Miss Kagawa's homecoming is described in the article "Friendship Doll Mission" Into the 21st Century. The Kagawa Friendship Doll Association has an extensive photo record of Miss Kagawa's return to Japan. Although this photo record is in Japanese, please enjoy clicking on the links to view the many photos.

Miss Okayama returned to Japan in late 2001 and early 2002. The Okayama Japanese American Cultural Exchange Society sponsored the doll's restoration and a visit in April 2002 by Ann Braaten, senior lecturer of apparel, textiles and interior design at North Dakota State University. The children and adults who visited Miss Okayama during her exhibits in various places selected a nickname (Momoko) for her.

Photo used with permission of Kagawa Friendship Doll Association (link to Japanese home page)

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