Yokohama Doll Museum – Yokohama, Japan - Atlas Obscura

Yokohama Doll Museum

Home to thousands of dolls from around the world, including the "blue-eyed dolls" that came to Japan as American ambassadors. 

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The Yokohama Doll Museum, or more accurately translated as the Yokohama Dollhouse, is home to over 10,000 doll-related items collected from 141 countries around the world.

Since its establishment in 1986, the museum collection includes antique bisque dolls from Europe, karakuri automata of feudal Japan, ethnological figures from various cultures, vintage Mickey Mouses, and traditional Japanese dolls. Some of the specimens are works created by traditional doll-makers designated as Living National Treasure.

The collection’s highlight is the so-called “blue-eyed dolls,” which were sent to Japanese children in March 1927 as American ambassadors representing friendship, just in time for the annual Hina-matsuri festival. Of the more than 12,000 blue-eyed dolls that Japan received, only 344 are said to have survived to this day, four of which are owned by the Yokohama Doll Museum. Normally, the blue-eyed dolls that are on display in the permanent exhibit are replicas, and the original ones are showcased only on special occasions.

In front of the museum is a bridge called Pauline Bridge, named after the blue-eyed doll once gifted to a local elementary school. There is also a statue of the Pauline doll near the entrance.

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March 21, 2023

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