Miss Wakayama

Miss Wakayama, profile

Do you know the amazing story of Nevada’s Friendship Doll from Japan? She has been Nevada’s ambassador since 1928.

Learn more about this beautiful doll called Miss Wakayama.

Nevada’s children received Miss Wakayama in 1928 when she was chosen to reside at the Nevada Historical Society. She was made by Japanese master doll maker, Gayo Hirata. The Japanese Friendship Dolls arrived in America with much more than the clothes (kimonos, to be more exact) on their backs. They each had many doll-sized accouterments in their luggage. These personal accessories, furniture, and clothing made their long stay in America more comfortable.

In 1988, Kobusai Buuka Kyokai, a Tokya-based store chain organized a series of exhibitions in Japan representing the first US-Japan doll exchange. In assembling the show, the organizers located 21 of the original 58 dolls sent to the US and 195 of the first contingent sent to Japan. The participants, including Miss Wakayama, were brought together in several Japanese museums for conservation repair and restoration before embarking on a highly successful tour in Japan. Today, the inventory has reached 45 dolls with the known location of these lovely symbolic gestures of childhood friendship.