This is one of a series of books in which the dolls of Cloverdale, thanks to magic, come alive. In this story, the Queen of Dollville takes the children and dolls on a special train to the Doll Farm. As it happens, the Queen accepts in marriage the King who rules of "some foreign doll villages, all within a few miles of each other, each nationality in its own village." After the wedding, a train tour of these villages is arranged, with each village inhabited by dolls who however are more like people, so that this is a miniature ethnographic tour. In Chapter VI they visit Holland, Scotland, France, Mexico, the (American) Indians, Japan, and Venice. From pp. 75-77:
At the next station the Japanese colors were fluttering in the breeze. As they halted before the entrance a little Jap appeared, and the children exclaimed in delight, as he looked for all the world like the hat-pin cushions hanging beside the dressers at home.(Fireworks are in fact usually associated with the Chinese, and the most common pincushions were also Chinese> correction 3/18/2004: the hat-pin cushion is a type of which some examples have survived, with Japanese doll heads on long, usually white, bodies. The "gay music" is also a bit odd, since Japanese music was generally reported to be obnoxious to Western ears. The information about children carrying dolls and babies on their backs is in many children's' guides to Japan.)
This place was a bower of beauty. The trees were a mass of cherry blossoms, and the odorous wistaria ran riot over the daintily-colored dwellings and tea-houses. As the children sniffed the air, sweet with the breath of the flowers, they almost expected to see the streets strewn with broken bottles of perfumery.
And the people! How odd they looked, gazing at them with their brilliant dark eyes set in calm, oval, yellow faces!
The ladies all wore colored kimonos, richly embroidered in flowers and birds with wings spread ready to fly.
The streets were alive with these splendid creatures, while tiny children played about, dressed in the same manner as their elders, the smallest girls with dolls strapped on to their backs. The King explained that they wore them almost as soon as they could walk, to prepare them to carry the babies as they grew older. Those old enough to carry the babies on their backs were having great fun playing marbles and flying kites, regardless of the burden.
It was whispered about that the King, his Bride and guests had arrived, and in a short time the streets were strung with Japanese lanterns and flags. As it grew dark myriads of colored lights twinkled here and there, and then began a grand display of fireworks, for the Japanese have them on all gala occasions.
Our party was invited into a tea-house, where each received a dish of rice and a dainty cup of tea, while listening to the gay music and watching the jinrikishas flying about carrying ladies in gay holiday attire.
Clearly Virginia Keep had looked at some Japanese woodblocks, as he uses the classic gesture of a woman biting a handkerchief to be found in these (but not in dolls). The flag, wistaria, and branch of cherry blossom are all incorporated gracefully into the design.
In the last chapter, Janie is given a set of trays, each with a doll family representing one of the countries she has visited. One holds....a Japanese family looking calmly into her face, the mother and daughter carrying a parasol and decked in gorgeous embroidered kimonos.