In return for the friendship gift of the "blue-eyed" dolls,
2,610,000 Japanese primary and kindergarten school girls
contributed money to commission the construction,
outfitting, and delivery of 58 formal presentation Doll
Ambassadors to be sent to the children of America.
Additional funds were contributed by H.R.H. Princess Teru.
One of the dolls was a gift from the Imperial family, six
others represented the six largest cities in Japan, 4 represented colonies, and
each of the remaining dolls represented one of Japan's 47
prefectures. Each doll bore the name of its sponsoring
city or prefecture.
The dolls were shipped by steamship, each with her own
ticket, passport, and a steamer trunk containing all manner
of accessories: clothing, cosmetics, furniture, musical
instruments, tea sets, flags, dishware, etc. The
ambassadors were received with great ceremony, and for six
months toured all over the United States, individually, and
in groups, to be viewed by children and adults throughout
the land. Finally, the dolls were assigned one to each
state, with additional dolls going to large cities. Miss
Japan made her permanent home at the Smithsonian
Institution. Almost forgotten after World War II, a few of
the dolls have passed into private hands, but many of the
others are still cared for in museums, and several have
been exhibited in recent years in the United States and
Japan as interest in the friendship dolls has increased
over the past 20 years. The whereabouts of a total of 44 of the original
Ambassadors are currently known, and the search for the missing dolls continues.