St. Paul, Minn. (Nov. 11, 2017) — Minnesota’s only Japanese friendship doll, Miss Miyazaki, a rare Japanese friendship doll has returned to St. Paul and the Minnesota Historical Society’s collections after a trip to Tokyo for restoration.
The three-foot tall doll was originally a gift to the Minneapolis Public Library in 1931. The library transferred the doll to Historical Society collections in 2016. The doll was sent to the Yoshitoku Doll Company in Tokyo where it underwent a comprehensive five-month restoration including repairs to the armature, re-affixment of the face and rehabilitation of the skin surface.
Miss Miyazaki is one of 58 friendship dolls that Japan bestowed upon the United States as part of a cultural exchange program and the only such doll in Minnesota. Starting in 1927, the United States and Japan exchanged dolls as a way to ease cultural tensions following passage of the Immigration Act of 1924, which prohibited immigrants from Asia to the United States.
The doll was presented to the public on Oct. 31 with Adam Scher, MNHS senior curator, Alan Scott Pate, U.S. expert on Japanese friendship dolls, and Masaru Aoki, Yoshitoku Doll Company present to discuss the restoration and significance of the doll.
Miss Miyazaki will be on display in the Gale Family Library lobby from Nov. 2-18 along with doll accessories that accompanied her, including ornately decorated furnishings and a Japanese tea service. The exhibit is free and open during library hours at the Minnesota History Center, 345 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul.