Children's Comments
The Secret Friend

Grammy teaches children an American dance

The Secret Friend is a play about a Friendship Doll named Grammy sent from America to Japan in 1927. Most of the play is set during World War II, when the government authorities sought to have the Friendship Dolls destroyed and burned since they came from the enemy. Grammy becomes "the secret friend" of three students at the elementary school where she is displayed in a glass case. The following are some comments by children who have seen the play:


1st grader
Grammy was very cute. I want to see her again.


1st grader
Grammy at the beginning didnít have any friends except one, but it was great that in the end her rose bud opened and she made lots of friends. I also want to dance together with Grammy. I was very impressed!

 
Local government official tries
to take doll from Shizuko
 
 

2nd grader
I was surprised when at 12 o'clock Grammy came to visit at Natsuki's home. I wondered how Grammy was able to get outside. It was funny when they answered the phone and the boys were playing with brooms like they were fighting with swords. I cried a little bit.


2nd grader
It was good that Grammy was not burned. It was great that Grammy's flower bloomed when she made lots of friends. I cried during the last part of the play. I also want to meet Grammy. I think that the stuffed panda I have at home is alive, but I do not really believe it. When I saw this story, I started to come to believe it. Grammy, please come to visit my house. I'll introduce you to my panda. If you can, please do not come at midnight, but rather sometime in the morning. I can only play on Tuesdays and Fridays.

 
Finale with everyone dancing
 
 

3rd grader
I thought it was sad that the dolls were destroyed and burned even though Americans gave these dolls because they wanted to be friends with Japanese people. I would like to have a doll like Grammy. I thought that Grammy's flower brooch would really bloom, so I was really happy when it bloomed. I also think I would like to chat with a doll.


3rd grader
I was surprised that the picture drawn by Natsuki was the same as the paper doll made by Grandma Shizuko. I wanted to see the blue-eyed doll come out of the case. It was very sad when Shizuko heard that the blue-eyed doll would be burned.

 
Shizuko's friend Kenta explains
 to local government official why
Grammy should not be destroyed
 
 

4th grader
Shizuko, Grammy, Shizuko's friend, Kenta, and the boy who played with Kenta were very funny. I cried when Grammy was about to be burned. The funny parts and the sad parts of the play were very well acted. I also want to try on Grammy's dress one time.


4th grader
To everyone in the Urinko Theater Group, thank you for showing The Secret Friend to us. I was excited to find out who would be the secret friend. When I asked my mother, I was surprised to find out that the Blue-eyed Dolls were really sent to Japan.

 
73-year-old Shizuko
meets Grammy again
 
 

5th grader
I thought that the adults in the play, whatever role they played, did a great job in acting like true children. I was a little bit scared that the doll Grammy really seemed to move at night. My eyes were full of tears when they brought Grammy to be burned. But I was impressed when I found out that the teacher who stopped Shizuko hid Grammy in a storeroom.


5th grader
When I saw this play, I was glad that there were such nice people even when the U.S. and Japan were at war. I thought the play was fiction, so I was surprised when I heard it was a true story when I asked my teacher.

 
Grammy (left) talks with Shizuko (right)
 
 

6th grader
I thought Urinko Theater Company was great when I saw a play two years ago. This story about the doll Grammy was very good. Now relations between America and Japan are good, but a long time ago they fought a war against each other, and I realize that is was bad that people would go to the point of burning the dolls given by the people of America. I thought one part of the play was the funniest. It was when the two boys were playing like they were fighting each other with swords. A long time ago they must have played like that. If the doll could really appear, I would want to meet her just once.


6th grader
When I saw this play, I strongly felt I should treasure my friends. The play emphasizes the idea that even though you can not get together with your friends, you may be able to meet them again someday.

Comments above taken from publicity brochure
     for The Secret Friend published by Urinko Theater Company.
Performance of Play at Ichigi Elementary School on October 21, 2002

Comments from Students of Tokoname Nishi Elementary School


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