Special thanks to Mikajima Elementary School for permission to publish this web page

Blue-eyed Doll        Mildred Ruchel

Hina Matsuri Assembly

March 3. 2000 (Hina Matsuri Assembly)

On March 3, 1988, the first Hina Matsuri Assembly took place.

Students who graduated in 1987 donated Hina dolls as their graduation memento, but not having enough budget, it turned out that the gorgeous Hina dolls on the seven-tier stand were able to be displayed because of a donation by a nearby independent doll shop owner.

The Hina dolls were displayed on the gymnasium stage, and the "Blue-eyed Doll" also was displayed next to the Hina stand. Since then, each year at a morning meeting on about March 3, we celebrate by holding a "Hina Matsuri Assembly," singing the "Song to Welcome Dolls" and the song of "Happy Hina Matsuri," and listening to doll stories told by the teachers.

This year also on March 3 (Wednesday) the Hina Matsuri Assembly was held. 

Messengers of Peace "Blue-eyed Dolls"

On February 17, 1927, the Tenyo Maru, a Japanese mail steamship, entered Yokohama Harbor carrying 12,739 "Blue-eyed Dolls" from America.

Based on his reflections on the tragedy of World War I, Dr. Gulick founded the "Committee on World Friendship Among Children" to guide the world to peace filled with love for humanity and with the motto: "Friendships must be made in childhood." The Blue-eyed Dolls was carried out as one of the projects of that organization.

With the purpose of comforting the hearts of Japanese girls who lost their cherished dolls in the great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, they hurried to prepare and send the presents so they would be in time for Hina Matsuri. They collected handmade dolls from elementary schools, kindergartens, and other organizations in all 48 states. The children bought the bodies of the dolls with their allowance money; made clothes, hair, and shoes; and named the dolls. A passport, together with such things as changes of clothing, perfume, handkerchiefs, a Bible, and money, came with the dolls, along with a kindhearted message that the two countries not cause trouble for each other.

The dolls that arrived in Yokohama were distributed to elementary schools and kindergartens throughout the country. Saitama Prefecture received 204 dolls of the total, and 7 currently exist (as of 1991).

Torei Dolls (dolls of gratitude) were sent to America from Japan, and they received a warm welcome everywhere.

Sufferings of the "Blue-eyed Dolls"

The Pacific War (World War II) broke out on December 8, 1941. Children were taught: "In order to win the war, hate the enemy and be ready to attack them." A government order was issued saying that the "Blue-eyed Dolls," as dolls of the enemy, were to be destroyed. And it turned out that many dolls were lost.

"Blue-eyed Doll" Discovery

In the summer of 1986, when one of the staff at our school was arranging the museum and the social studies materials room, a doll in a box was discovered. Together with the doll, a passport written in English and a musical score for the "Song to Welcome Dolls" was found. Because it seemed to be a "Blue-eyed Doll," as well as by translating the English on the passport to Japanese, we had this doll looked at by a specialist, and it was confirmed that it is a doll that was sent in 1927.

Animation of the "Blue-eyed Dolls"

In 1995, the animated cartoon "The Story of the Blue-eyed Doll" was made. On that occasion, we asked that the doll at our school also be shown. She appears in the last scene.

On December 3 of the same year, a showing to commemorate the completion of the film was held at the Saitama Peace Museum. Afterward, on January 27 of the following year, a film festival was held at the Mikajima Cultural Center.

We borrowed a video tape from the Museum and showed it at our school to all the students.

Formal Title   Saitama Peace Museum Original Animation Movie
                            "The Story of the Blue-eyed Doll - Messenger of Peace"

This is an English translation of a Japanese web page.

Return to American Blue-eyed Dolls - Individual Dolls

Main Page | 1927 Doll Exchange | Japanese Friendship Dolls | American Blue-eyed Dolls
Mass Media / Books / Films | Letters
Other Friendship Doll Programs | Teachers' Corner
Links | Recent Changes | Acknowledgements | Children's Page