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