Sunday, July 13, 2014

Friendship Doll Program Continues

Especially in the last 15 years many individuals and groups in American and Japan have become involved in the Friendship Doll Exchanges.
One of these groups is the Mukogawa Fort Wright Institute.  Since 1993 this organization has sent over 1000 Japanese dolls to schools in every state.  Renewed interest in the 1927 doll exchange encouraged Mukogawa Woman's University in 1993 to coordinate a similar venture of goodwill, "The Japan - Us Friendship Doll Program".  Japanese dolls are donated and bought with funds raised by Japanese citizens and are sent to Mukogawa Fort Wright (MFWI) in Spokane Washington.
At the Hina Matsuri (Doll Festival) on March 3rd of every year the dolls are introduced and presented to schools and other organizations to encourage their study of Japan and world cultures.  Each doll comes with educational materials and a certificate with the donors name.  All states and DC have received doll from this group.
There are individuals involved with the Friendship Doll Program.  Two people in the US are Sidney and Frances Gulick.  Sidney is the grandson of Dr Sidney L. Gulick who was the instigator and coordinator of the original Friendship Doll Program in 1927.  The Gulicks have continued the tradition.
In 1986 the Gulicks attended the opening ceremony of the Yokohama Doll Museum.  While still in Japan they visited an elementary school in Kyoto which was one of the original schools involved in the friendship program and they still had one of the original dolls sent in 1927.  During this visit they presented the school with a new pair of dolls.
Since 1986, the couple has sent approximately ten dolls each year to schools in Japan.  Each doll has traveling clothes, nightgown, handbag, passport. and a letter of introduction.  The couple makes sure the dolls arrive in time for the Hina Matsuri each year.  Many of the dolls go to the same schools that received the original dolls in 1927.  Many of these schools feature these dolls on their internet homepages.
There are many groups in both countries that take part and contribute to the friendship  doll exchanges and the tradition continues.

1 comment:

  1. How fascinating to know this continues. If everybody was a 'doll person,' I think the world would be a happier and safer place.