Letter to Clarksburg Elementary School

This is one of the several letters from Japan that arrived with two Friendship Dolls sent to Clarksburg Elementary School in Clarksburg, Massachusetts.

March 3, 2000                  

Dear American Friends,

My name in Yoko Yagi, and I am from Japan. I came to Spokane, Washington, to study English and learn about American customs at Mukogawa Fort Wright Institute. I enjoy living here and getting to know the differences and similarities between American and Japanese cultures.

I am from Osaka in Osaka Prefecture. Universal Studios Japan is being built near my house. My parents have a little Chinese restaurant. I am proud of it!

One of Japanese Friendship Dolls sent to Clarksburg Elementary School

There are many cultural festivals in Japan. One of them is "Girls Day" (Hina Matsuri), which is always celebrated on March 3. On that day people wish for family growth and happiness. Homes with young girls usually display a set of fifteen gorgeous dolls: an emperor and empress doll, three court ladies, five court musicians, two ministers, and three servants. These sets include doll furniture and other accessories. Everyone enjoys special small sweets and other foods on Girls Day.

I have some special memories of Hina Matsuri. When I was born, my grandfather gave me a beautiful set of Hina dolls. They are one of my favorite treasures. My mother has often said, "You used to see the dolls and cry when you were a child because their faces seemed so real." I was embarrassed at that.

In 1927, America and Japan exchanged dolls as ambassadors of friendship. Unfortunately, most of the dolls were destroyed during World War II. The stories of how some of the dolls were protected in America and in Japan are interesting to me. I hope you will learn about this.

Now, you are receiving some Japanese Friendship Dolls. They carry a message of peace and friendship. We hope you will enjoy learning about them and about Japanese culture.

Please take good care of these dolls and love them dearly. I hope we will be friends.


Yoko Yagi
Osaka, Japan

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Letter in Japanese

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Used with permission of author

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