You don’t have to be a doll aficionado to enjoy the Yokohama Doll Museum. It starts with displays of the famous “Blue-eyed Dolls,” 12,000 friendship gifts that were sent to Japanese school in 1927. These dolls were given in an effort to promote goodwill and peace by influencing children’s attitudes. Unfortunately, during WWII, the government ordered all the dolls destroyed and most were burned, stabbed, or destroyed as enemies. Fortunately, about 300 of the dolls were hidden or preserved by people who risked being branded as traitors. There’s a really interesting homepage with a detailed history of the dolls, photos, and the story of individual dolls at http://wgordon.web.wesleyan.edu/dolls/index.htm.
The museum also has displays of dolls from around the world, and fascinating displays on traditional doll-making techniques in both Japan and the West.
The museum is conveniently located in Yamashita-Koen near Motomachi/Chuukagai Station and costs 500 yen. For more details, visit their website at: http://www.welcome.city.yokohama.jp/eng/doll/.