Blue-eyed Dolls

Three Blue-eyed Dolls, Virginia, Neena, and Emma, are exhibited at Joto Elementary School. Virginia is one of the dolls given by the American missionary Mr. Gulick I to serve as a bridge for Japan-America friendship. These dolls arrived for Japan's Hina Matsuri (Doll Festival) in 1927. 142 dolls were distributed in Gunma Prefecture. However, due to the War, 19 of these historical dolls were hidden, and today they are kept with care as school treasures.

    In the spring of 1927, based on an appeal by the American Committee on World Friendship Among Children, Friendship Dolls were given as a gift to Japan with the wish that the children in the two countries would be good friends forever. The doll at left was given the name of Virginia because she came from the state of Virginia.
    Virginia, in addition to making a homecoming trip to America, has been involved in activities throughout Japan for the purpose of international friendship.
    World War II ended, and a "Blue-eyed Doll Exhibition" was held in Tokyo in 1978, 51 years after Virginia came to Japan. Joto Elementary School's Virginia also participated.
    At that time, an American girl who came to the exhibition gave Neena as a gift so she would be Virginia's friend.
    In 1987, the "New Blue-eyed Dolls" came alive again. Emma is one of three dolls given by Mr. Gulick, 3d, in 1995 to serve as a bridge for Japan-America friendship. The three dolls were given through the former Lieutenant Governor Hirotada Yokota, who was Chairman of the Gunma Prefecture Blue-eyed Doll Friendship Exchange Society.

In 1979, the PTA along with some children at this school visited several states in the U.S., did home stays, and participated in events such as social affairs and doll exhibitions. Up to today we have continued to participate in international exchanges through dolls.

Special thanks to Maebashi Joto Elementary School for permission to publish this web page.
This is an English translation of a Japanese web page.

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