Sunday, July 13, 2014

Japanese Friendship Dolls Today

Until the 1980's nothing was known of the fate of the Japanese Friendship Dolls.  In 1984 a mention was made in a magazine article of the Japanese Friendship doll, Miss Japan being in storage in Smithsonian Institution and that the fate of the other dolls was unknown.
Thanks to the dedication of many individuals most of these beautiful dolls have been located.  Fourteen of the dolls are still unaccounted for.
During World War ll, the museums took down the dolls and stored them away since no American wanted to see gifts from an enemy.  In the following years most of the dolls were forgotten, misplaced or sold.  Many people are today tirelessly searching for the remaining dolls.
One doll was presumed lost in 1937 when the Ohio River flooded the museum where Miss Toyama was stored.   In 1992, a museum employee happened to notice a trunk in the museum basement.  Inside the battered and watermarked trunk was Miss Toyama, feet dangling, legs disconnected and covered with 50 year old river muck.  The doll was returned to Japan for restoration and today continues her role as friendship  ambassador.
There are 46 of the 58 dolls now located.  The last doll found was in 2010.  The search continues.....

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