The Japanese-American Friendship Doll "Miss Okayama" left from Yokohama Bay by ship for America on November 10, 1927. Miss Okayama went together with 58 other dolls, including the doll representing all of Japan (Hideko Yamato), dolls from other prefectures, and dolls representing colonies such as Taiwan.
On October 21, before the final farewell ceremony in Tokyo (on November 4), there was a farewell ceremony for Miss Okayama at the Prefectural Education Hall in Okayama City. About 300 girls from Okayama City elementary schools attended. The "dolls of friendship" that were given to Okayama Prefecture by America in March of that year also were lined up as guests.
"Goodbye, Miss Okayama,." reported the Sanyo Shimpo newspaper (predecessor to the Sanyo Shimbun) on the following day (October 22). There was also a large photo.
The 58 Japanese dolls, messengers of peace, after passing through Hawaii, arrived in San Francisco on November 25 to make it in time for the Christmas season. After visiting about 500 cities throughout America, they were distributed to each of the states.
Yayoi Sumida (83, resident of Funabashi City, Chiba Prefecture), when she was a second-grade student at Ishii Elementary School in Okayama City, gave words of encouragement to Miss Okayama at the farewell ceremony. She talks about Miss Okayama's homecoming with deep emotion, "It is great that she made it through the war." She remembers, "There were two Blue-eyed Dolls lined up in the hall, and we also sang 'The Blue-eyed Doll' (by Ujo Noguchi), a song which was popular at that time."
"It seems that I was selected because my father, who was an elementary school teacher, had traveled to the United States as a teacher. I am a person who has lived a long life. I really want to meet Miss Okayama again," Ms. Inagaki says with a lively voice.
(published September 25, 2001)
Copyright (C) 2001, Sanyo Shimbun
Special thanks to the Sanyo Shimbun for permission to publish this web page.
This is a translation of a Japanese web page (link no longer available).
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