Barbie and I

If in the Barbie's bible "Dressing Barbie" by Carol Spencer would be like the New Testament "Barbie and I" would be like the Old. The way in which Fumiko Miyatsuka tells it, the descriptions of Japan in the 50s and the contrasts between Japan and America at that time have Barbie as an anchor point and weave a delicious story in which don't lack technical aspects either.

If you don't know her already, Fumiko Miyatsuka was Charlotte Johnson's assistant during the year she lived at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo to create the 22 dresses and a swimsuit that would make Barbie's first wardrobe.

Following the advice of her mother, Fumiko learned to sew to earn a living and that earned her a position at Kokusai Boeki Kaisha Ltd when she accompanied a friend for a test run. From there to pick up Charlotte Johnson at the Haneda airport with the crowned heads of the company only few days passed and although Fumiko remembers that she got five dictionaries because she did not speak English nor Charlotte Japanese, in the end she did not need them for they understood each other wonderfully from the first moment in other ways. They worked hard but as Fumiko says "every day was fun" and despite that language barrier she and Charlotte became good friends.

Fumiko worked in the hotel from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and after that she went to the Kokusai Boeki offices and kept working until the last train to her house and, although she speaks of the sexism she suffered from the men of the company, always praises the president who waited for her every day to drive her to the station and the americans Seymour Adler and Frank Nakamura who would be friends with her "Fumi Chan" forever.

Everything Fumiko learned from Charlotte helped her establish her own doll clothing company Miyatsuka Sewing and she treasured the gifts she received from her American friend who "looked like Barbie herself," including the models they made together that year full of anecdotes and wit.

Fumiko tells how she wove the Twin Set sample one night at home, in the heat and in front of a mosquito net surrounded by rice fields, or that one day she was washing her hands after work and thought that the tap's mouth was the size of Barbie's head so she grabbed some cloth and Yamato Glue and made a mold that would later become the Picnic Set hat. Charlotte could not be happier and wanted to try it in more things so they also made a mold from a bowl of rice for children that was in the room and thus the hat of the Suburban Shopper was born.

Barbie marked the life of Fumiko and she left an indelible mark on a Barbie that she could never forget and of which she has, if not one of the largest collections, probably one of the most interesting.

by The Barbiest