Article from The New York Times, March 18, 1927.
 

Gifts of Friendship

 
In the family of nations gifts that pass between its members have an impersonal character, but they take on a symbolism that often invests them with an ambassadorial rank. Such are the gifts of dolls which the children of America dressed and outfitted and sent to the children of Japan--12,000 dolls in all--too few, unhappily, to furnish one for every school. That they were not received as mere playthings is indicated by the welcome that was accorded them in Tokio and Osaka, where several hundred thousand Japanese men, women and children looked upon these little images clad in Occidental costumes. They were accorded both royal and diplomatic honors, for princes of the imperial blood joined in the welcome, and the American Ambassador, in making the presentation, expressed the hope that "this day" would "be long remembered in the history of our relations in that it has made our historic concatenation more solid and concrete."

Impalpable are the forces which this flinging of another chain across the Pacific strengthens. Among those to speak for the Japanese besides the Minister of Education, who presided at the ceremonial meeting of welcome, was Baron Shibusawa, 88 years of age, who was but a youth when the first catena from America was carried to Japan by Commodore Perry in his negotiation of the first United States treaty with that then isolate people. This aged financier and statesman, who used to be called "the Pierpont Morgan of Japan" and who in his young Samurai manhood helped voluntarily to guard the person of our first Minister to Japan, Townsend Harris, spoke with deep emotion of this new mission of goodwill. He, too, in his great age sees promise in this symbolic fostering of an understanding and friendship between the children of the two countries.

Archaeologically, dolls were but effigies used in magic to drive away the evil spirits or evoke and invite the good. They were the most portentous of objects in their own imputed powers to work good or ill. But as time has gone on they have lost all that sorcery and are but the dumb recipients of affection--associates of childhood, innocent of any evil and incapable to bear aught save what children themselves may carry throughout the earth.

The Japanese, with all their sentiment and artistic refinement as shown in this and other ceremonies, show a self-reliance and practical enterprise in the midst of disaster and affliction, as is illustrated by their conduct following the earthquake which occurred but a few days after the doll festival. They turned to meet that emergency with American energy and quiet effectiveness. They were quick to send a fund to Florida at the time of the recent disaster--86,300 yen, over $40,000 from almost as many contributors. . . .

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