Japanese Dolls: From Showa to Heisei and Reiwa eras

Jun 17, 2021 - Jul 28, 2021

Japanese Dolls

Japanese-US Friendship Dolls

About the work

In 1927, when U.S.-Japan relations became tense, Dr. Sidney Lewis Gulick hoped to foster goodwill and friendship between Japan and the United States in the future through "Doll exchanges" between children in both nations. As a result, about 12,000 blue-eyed dolls were given to Japanese children by American children as "U.S.-Japan friendship dolls."


Baron Eiichi Shibusawa made great efforts to accept them, and in return, he worked a plan to give Japanese Friendship dolls from Japan to the United States. By Christmas, 58 gorgeous “Ichimatsu dolls” had been presented to the United States, and private-sector Japanese and U-S exchanges had spread.


Yokohama Doll's Museum features blue-eyed dolls from that time and a replica of Japanese Friendship dolls. Unfortunately, many dolls were lost during the war, but what remains still conveys the thoughts of Dr. Gulick and Baron Shibusawa.


1.     Blue-eyed doll "Elena"

2.      Passport for the friendship dolls from the United States

3.   Friendship Dolls and Girls from Japan and the United States.

4.   The Reverend Sidney Lewis Gulick (April 10, 1860-December 20, 1945) who ideated the exchange of friendship dolls between Japan and the United States

5.     Baron Eiichi Shibusawa (March 16, 1840 - November 11, 1931), who organized the gift of Japanese dolls to the United States, at a ceremony at the Japan Youth Center

6.   Japanese Friendship doll - Ichimatsu Doll

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