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Dr. Sidney L. Gulick
Miss Nagasaki

Nagasaki Tamako

"If world friendliness is to be achieved, the children of the nations must know each other better..."

    Dr. Sidney Gulick

Nagasaki Tamako, also known as Miss Nagasaki, is an Ambassador Doll - one of 58 sent from Japan to America in 1927 as part of an exchange of dolls between children of the two lands. The dolls' mission is to promote understanding between nations through friendship among children. Nagasaki Tamako has been in the collection of the Rochester Museum & Science Center since 1929.

Her story spans 75 years: with beginnings as a goodwill gesture in 1927, she travelled throughout the United States, spent decades under the wrong name, was reidentified as a result of a researcher's quest, and now carries out her renewed mission in another century. Many children and adults have been drawn into her story over time, and her message of peace and goodwill remains as profound today as when she first began her journey.

For many contemporary Americans this story, taken literally, may not at first seem believable. The pace of life, and to a certain extent, values and priorities, were in many ways so different in 1927 that to attach such importance to objects often thought of as mere playthings may seem incongruous. There are gulfs of cultures and time to be bridged in order to fully appreciate the significance of Nagasaki Tamako and her sisters - dolls are perceived and valued differently in America than they are in traditional Japanese culture, and differently now than they were in the world of 1927. However, it will be seen that the friendship doll exchanges have continued to touch young and old alike, and that their messages of peace and understanding have an added significance in post-war times. This story, then, can be a pathway and a link to another time and another culture for the interested explorer, as well as an inspiration for us today.

This website provides some background on the friendship doll exchanges between Japan and the United States, and additional information in print and on the web is referenced so that you can explore further. Details are given on Nagasaki Tamako herself, her story in Rochester, and her planned homecoming in 2003. Objects from the RMSC's collections related to the Friendship Doll exchanges are also illustrated. Click on the topics in the outline at left of each page to navigate through the site.

If you enjoy this site, please let us know and please visit the RMSC Collections & Research Homepage to see some of our other collections-based websites.


The RMSC gratefully thanks all those who helped in the development of this site or gave permission to use images and text, especially:

Mr. William Gordon has created and maintains an excellent website on the Friendship Dolls which covers a great many aspects of the topic in detail. His site, at, is highly recommended and was of great help in preparing this site.

Many other sources, both print and web-based, were consulted in the creation of this site. The Bibliography provides an extensive print resource list, with annotations. Links to selected websites are provided on many of the pages of this site for those who wish to explore the subject further.

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Dr. Sidney L. Gulick