Miss Yokohama, Colorado's Japanese Friendship Doll, 1927

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Artifact Is: 3 Dimensional Item
Located at: Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls And Toys

Artifact Significant To: Nation

Artifact Description:

Miss Yokohama is Colorado's Japanese Friendship Doll. Thisartisan doll arrived in 1927 with 57 of her sisters. She is one of only 7 dolls created by the Ohki Heizo (Maruhei) Doll Company in Kyoto. She is 81cm,constructed of gofun, wood, human hair, glass eyes and wears a yuzen dyed kimono with furosode sleeves. Upon arrival, the mayor of San Francisco, declared: "These dolls must be thought of as more than just dolls. They are expressions of goodwill, a binder of good faith between two great countries on either side of the Pacific ... they are ambassadors destined to accomplish much."

Why Is This Artifact Significant?

Miss Yokohama and her sisters represent a fascinating piece of diplomatic history between Japan and the US. In the 1920s, acting in belief that a better understanding between the people of the US and Japan, a former missionary to Japan , organized groups across American to collect “blue-eyed” dolls. These dolls were received with great fanfare in Japan. In response, the Japanese commissioned 58 dolls representing the imperial household, six cities, each prefecture and territories of Japan. Following their reception in San Francisco, the dolls toured the US and then found homes in appropriate institutions in each state.

How Does The Artifact Relate To Colorado History?

Miss Yokohama is one of only a few dolls that remained in good condition and in the public trust after WWII. People of Japanese descent have been part of Colorado History since the 1880s. Colorado boasted a thriving population of people of Japanese descent prior to WWII, was the location of a WWII "internment" camp, served as a resettlement center for exiles from the West Coast, housed a major Japanese-language school and an independent ethnic press during the war. Miss Yokohama is a physical representation of the hope of good faith that led to eventual acceptance of Colorado’s Japanese population.

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