NDSU’s Emily Reynolds Historic Costume Collection is planning a “Bon Voyage Reception” for Miss Okayama, a Japanese friendship doll. The event is scheduled for Saturday, March 7, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the Family Life Center room 415A.
The 92-year-old Japanese-American Friendship Doll has a slightly damaged left leg and neck, and is scheduled to return to Japan for restoration. Masaru Aoki, a conservator from the Yoshitoku Doll Co. in Tokyo, is scheduled to visit NDSU and take the doll back to Japan for mending.
“We’d like to invite the campus community and the public to bid ‘Bon Voyage’ to Miss Okayama prior to her return to Japan for conservation and repair, and to welcome Mr. Aoki, who is the conservator of many Japanese Friendship Dolls,” said Ann Braaten, associate professor of practice and curator of the Emily Reynolds Historic Costume Collection.
After restoration, the doll is set to be exhibited at a welcome ceremony in Okayama City, Japan, in early June. The doll is then scheduled to be on display in the cities of Bizen and Kurashiki until the end of June. Following those events, Aoki will bring the doll back to Fargo.
Miss Okayama came to the United States in 1928, one of 58 “doll ambassadors” sent by the Japanese government. The dolls were shipped to the United States in appreciation for 12,700 dolls that had been sent to Japanese schools by America youth groups through a 1926 program organized by missionary Sidney Gulick. He considered dolls as a way for children to get acquainted with the customs and culture of another land.
After being displayed at locations in Valley City, North Dakota, and Fargo, the doll has been in the possession of NDSU’s College of Human Sciences and Education since 1973.
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