Peace, Somewhere Among

Japan-U.S. Friendship

GIFTS OF TREES, 1910 – present

You may know the long and interesting history of Japan’s 1912 gift of the Washington, D. C. cherry trees. But did you know that in 1915, three years after the gift of cherry trees, the United States government sent seeds and saplings of dogwood to Japan? They were the first dogwood  trees in Japan. Gifts of Friendship (Japan Joint Issue) stamps were issued on April 10, 2015 to commemorate the 1915 gift of dogwoods.

After World War II ended in 1945, cuttings from the cherry trees in Washington, D.C. were sent to Japan to restore the Tokyo collection that had perished during the American bombing attacks during the war. The two countries’ tree giving continues through the United States-Japan Bridging Foundation Friendship Blossoms Initiative.

To read about the history of the National Cherry Blossom Festival check here at National Geographic’s press room.

Another photo of autumn dogwood.

Autumn dogwood

The last original dogwood and Ambassador Caroline Kennedy

U.S. Embassy press release of dogwood trees given to Yoyogi Park

FRIENDSHIP DOLLS, 1920s

The Immigration Act of 1924 prohibited East Asians from immigrating to the United States increasing tension between the United States and Japan. Sidney Gulick, a founding member of the Committee on World Friendship Among Children, had been a missionary in Japan and wanted to ease the tension. He knew the role of dolls in the Japanese festival and day of dolls.  In 1927, the Committee’s first goodwill project was to send dolls from the United States to children in Japan. They were called “Friendship Dolls” and “American Blue-eyed Dolls.”

Eiichi Shibusawa, a leading Japanese businessman, led the collection effort in Japan to commission the best doll makers in Japan to produce 58 dolls as gifts to the United States. These “Doll Messengers of Friendship” were sent to museums and libraries in 1928.

Friendship Dolls

Museum Project for Friendship Dolls    Japan Times article 2006

Japanese Friendship Dolls

Miss Japan Friendship Doll at the Smithsonian Institution

The Friendship Doll by Kirby Larson, Delacorte Books

THE GIFT OF THE PEACE BELL, 1954     image0-004

The Peace Bell was donated to the United Nations in 1954 by the United Nations Association of Japan. See the links below and the post International Day of Peace for Peace One Day.

United Nations Peace Bell

There are Peace Bells throughout the world. World Peace Bells

A PRESIDENT’S GIFT, 1961

President John F. Kennedy sent a surplus bell to the Japan Evangelical Lutheran Saijo church in Hiroshima.  Read about Ambassador Caroline Kennedy’s 2015 visit here.

ONGOING FRIENDSHIP PROJECTS

Tomodachi Initiative

For more on Japan’s friendship building efforts , see