The "Jap Doll" --Ningyô on the Western Toyshelf 1850-1940

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Dolls from Japan were very popular in America and Europe through the late 19th and early 20th centuries. On these pages, I have collected illustrations and references that suggest the place of the Japanese doll in the minds of American and European children, and of the adults who bought them toys and moralized those toys.

Addition for 2014: References to the Hinamatsuri, to accompany the chapter "Girls’ Day for Umé: Western Perceptions of the Hina Matsuri, 1874–1937" by Judy Shoaf, in Dolls Studies: The Many Meanings of Girls' Toys and Play, ed. Miriam Forman-Brunell and Jennifer Whitney.

2014: Phyllis E. Webb, illustrator
Addition for 2011: a long article on "W. B. Yeats, Mabel Beardsley, and a Japanese Doll" (opens as a pdf file)

Addition for 2010: supplement to the article "Queer Dress and Biased Eyes: The Japanese Doll on theWesternToyshelf " by Judy Shoaf, Journal of Popular Culture 43:1 (February 2010), 177-195.

2010: Edith Scannell page.
Additions for 2005:
Postcards, magazine illustration, ads
Photos and book illustration

 Additions for 2004
2003 website:.
How Japanese dolls came to Europe and America
Early photos of Japanese dolls
1904: Japanese dress-up from France

2.  Jappy Rhymes with Happy
"Little Japs" and racism--a few literary notes
"Jap" in 19th-century popular usage
A Mirror of Women: The Japanese Woman as Doll
"Jap" & Japanese-ness in advertising
Japanese soap
Japanese dolls in advertising

3. Japanese dolls and Christmas
Christmas cards
Japanese dolls in postcards and greeting cards
Japanese dolls in "Japan"
Multicultural Doll Families
Japanese dolls in toys
Japanese dolls in paperdolls

4. Japanese dolls in literature and on the stage
Japanese dolls in popular music
Shirley Temple's Japanese dolls
Babe Ruth with a Japanese doll

5. Japanese dolls in magazine illustration
Japanese dolls in prints and paintings

6. Japanese dolls as heroes of picture books
Japanese dolls in poems
Japanese dolls in book illustration
Japanese dolls in Japanese fairy tales

Little Jap doll folder
Japan-British Exhibition, London, 1910

The folder has the doll's back on the other side; 
inside is a foldout of tiny photos of the exhibition. 
This was the first piece of Japanese doll ephemera I found, 
and my introduction to the term "little Jap."

To the Japanese Dolls page