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NDSU co-sponsors Japanese doll presentation

NDSU’s Emily P. Reynolds Costume Collection is a co-sponsor of a significant upcoming international event in Fargo.

On Tuesday, Sept. 10, a nine-member delegation of the Okayama Japan-America Cultural Exchange Society is set to present a prized Hina doll set to the Northern Plains Botanic Garden Society. The event is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. at the West Acres Shopping Center Food Court’s north entrance. The public is invited to attend.

According to Ann Braaten, assistant professor and curator of the Emily Reynolds Costume Collection, the presentation traces its history back to “Miss Okayama,” a 1927 Friendship Doll that has been housed in the collection since 1973.

The purpose of the delegation’s visit is to further friendship between the Japanese people and the United States that started in 1927 with the Friendship Doll exchange. The doll exchange was an effort to smooth mounting political tensions between the two countries. Children in the United States collected and sent more than 12,000 dolls to Japan. In return, a doll was presented to each state and several major cities. The Miss Okayama doll was presented as a gift from the children of Okayama Prefecture to the children of North Dakota.

“Miss Okayama provides a continuing bond of friendship between Japan and North Dakota,” Braaten said, noting the doll will be on display during the Hina doll presentation. “The Japan-America Cultural Exchange Society sponsored the restoration of the 1927 Friendship Doll in 2001. We are honored that organization has reached out again to further ties between Okayama, Japan, and Fargo.”

The Japanese delegation, led by Chikao Kawabata, executive general director of the exchange society, plans to present a 15-doll Hina doll set that will have a permanent home with the Northern Plains Botanic Garden Society.

The Northern Plains Botanic Garden Society, Fargo, is developing a botanic garden for the region. Included in the plan is the Garden of Mind and Soul, designed in a Japanese garden style.

Hina dolls are displayed during a Japanese holiday called Hinamatsuri, also called Dolls’ Day or Girls’ Day. Its historical roots go back to the Heian period, which ended more than 800 years ago. The holiday is based in the former belief that dolls possessed the power to contain bad spirits. The early dolls were placed in a boat and sent down a river to the sea, supposedly taking troubles with them.

NDSU is partnering with the Northern Plains Botanic Garden Society, West Acres Shopping Center, Fargo-Moorhead Convention and Visitors Bureau and North Dakota Tourism to host the event.

NDSU is recognized as one of the nation’s top 108 public and private universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.

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North Dakota State University
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