Passports to Friendship: Celebrating 75 Years of U.S.-Japan Friendship Doll Exchange

July 27 through October 13, 2002 at the Japanese American National Museum

In 1927, millions of American and Japanese children participated in an exchange program aimed at promoting peace, goodwill and understanding between their two nations. American children sent 12,739 dolls to coincide with the traditional Japanese Girl's Day festival known as Hina Matsuri. Later that year, Japanese children reciprocated by sending 58 dolls to the U.S. in time for Christmas celebrations.

Each doll carried with it a passport and the good wishes of the children. This exhibition traces the historical and political context of the 1927 doll exchange, relates what happened to the dolls in the intervening years and revives the original mission to educate children how to respect and value diverse cultures and experiences. Passports to Friendship will include twelve American and Japanese dolls from the 1927 exchange, many of which are being exhibited for the first time in Los Angeles. The exhibition includes: Miss Dai Nippon (Smithsonian Institution), Miss Tottori and her brother (Museum of the South Dakota State Historical Society), Miss Kagawa (North Carolina State Museum of Natural Sciences), Miss Osaka-fu (Ohio Historical Society), and Miss Toyama (Speed Art Museum, Kentucky), and American dolls from elementary schools in Hyogo, Tokyo, Kanagawa, and Osaka prefectures in Japan.

(The images above show Miss Kagawa, collection of the North Carolina State Museum of Natural Sciences and Helen, collection of the Takasago Yochien.) To see the images larger, please click on them. Click on the 'back' button in your browser to return to this page.


For more information about the story and history of the Friendship Dolls, please click below to read "A Mission of Friendship".

June 2002

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