The following letter came in October 1983 to the Wilmington Friends Meeting in Wilmington, Ohio, from a teacher of high school English in Nagasaki, Japan. The letter asks about any information on a doll sent to a kindergarten on Hirado Island during the Friendship Doll exchange of 1927.

Dear friends of Friends Meeting,

I am an English teacher who lives in Nagasaki. These years I have been interested in the 'blue-eyed dolls' which were sent to Japanese children from the United States in 1927 to improve friendship between the two nations. Japanese children, too poor then to buy pretty American dolls, were amazed and delighted to have more than 12,000 little blue-eyed 'ambassadors'. Across the nation all the dolls were enthusiastically accepted, welcomed, and displayed in a special corner at every school. Probably many letters were exchanged between the senders there and the receivers here.

As you know, however, war broke out in 1941 and the two nations hated each other. Here in Japan militaristic leaders ordered school teachers to 'dispose of the American dolls sent by the enemies' when they were being defeated.

Most of the friendship dolls at elementary schools and kindergartens suffered brutal deaths; some were burned, some trampled on, and some pierced with bamboo spears, to arouse in children's mind hatred against the Americans.

Fortunately conscientious teachers hid and kept their dolls secretly from the contemporary insanity.

Mrs. Eiko Takeda, a famous author for children, has been writing several books, a long documentary and pretty picture books, about the friendship dolls.

Last year, when Eiko visited Nagasaki, happily we found the first surviving friendship doll in Nagasaki Prefecture (which is the 170th in Japan).

The doll, which has been loved by children in a kindergarten in Hirado, Nagasaki, had the following card on her: ELLEN C.  From the Juniors of the Friends Bible School, Wilmington, Ohio.

We were happy to find a surviving doll here in Nagasaki, the discovery of which was reported in newspapers and television.

We will be far happier to contact people in Wilmington who were kind to send their 'grassroots diplomat' to Japanese children.

I hope that you will introduce Ellen C. to your people and help us find and contact 'the juniors of the Friends Bible School', who are probably more than 60 years old. If you find, please tell them that their Ellen has survived the tragic war and been displayed in a kindergarten in Hirado, Nagasaki.

I will be looking forward to your reply.

Sincerely yours,

(Hirobumi Toyama)

P.S. Mrs. Takeda and I will soon publish an English textbook of the blue-eyed friendship doll in Nagasaki.

I also know three beautiful artistic Japanese dolls were sent to Ohio to express thanks for sending us more dolls than any other state.

Were Friends especially interested in the project to send the dolls?

Special thanks to Mary Elizabeth Stanfield for permission to publish this letter

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