Wednesday 17th January 2018,

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Weld: Japanese Friendship Doll Restored for a New Generation

posted by Randall
Ichimatsu doll

Traditional dress-up dolls of Japan

A doll sent by Japan as a gesture of friendship in 1927 to the United States has been restored to its original state, reports the Weld for Birmingham

Miss Iwate is one of 58 Japanese friendship dolls sent by Japan during a time of tension between the two countries due to growing militarism in Japan and anti-immigration laws in the United States.

Sidney Lewis Gulick, an American missionary, sought to change that when he lead an effort to send American made friendship dolls to Japan. It worked;the dolls were an instant hit. Japan, with the support of the 315-year-old Yoshitoku Doll Company, would soon reciprocate.

Miss Iwate ended up at the Birmingham Public Library in Alabama where it is brought out from moth ball for special occasions. The doll had been showing signs of wear, so in advance of her 90th birthday, the library sent the doll back to Japan to be restored.

“Even though she was in pretty good shape overall, she was beginning to show some wear and tear,” said Masaru Aoki of the Yoshitoku Doll Company. “She had some hairline cracks around her ear and on her neck and there was some soiling of her face and arms and neck and her kimono had gotten a little dirty, but the major thing was, one knee had come off. She needed knee surgery.”

Miss Iwate returned to Birmingham last week after being on display in Japan for three months alongside one of the dolls sent by America to Japan. Miss Iwate took part in this weekend’s Cherry Blossom Festival in Birmingham.


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