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Friendship Dolls
TV Programs

Several TV programs about the Friendship Dolls have aired in Japan in the last three decades. This page discusses some of the most significant ones.

1973 

Mary
Gunma Prefecture

 
"Mary, The Doll Messenger" - In 1973, a Blue-eyed Doll, which had been secretly kept by a former teacher at Azuma Elementary School in Gunma Prefecture, suddenly turned up. This story of survival served as material for this NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) TV program about Mary. This TV program became a great opportunity for Japanese people to renew interest in the Friendship Dolls exchanged between the US and Japan in 1927. After the broadcast of this TV program, news came in steadily about Blue-eyed Dolls still in existence throughout Japan.

1983 

"The Dolls With Blue Eyes" - In 1981, The Dolls With Blue Eyes, which recorded the events of 50 years of Japan-America doll exchanges, was published. This book was written by Eiko Takeda, an author of children's literature. In 1983, this book was turned into a TV drama and was broadcast nationwide in Japan on November 12, 1983. When this TV program was being filmed, 109 Blue-eyed Dolls from around the country were gathered together and participated in the "Japan-America Friendship Exchange Doll Reunion Ceremony."

Miss Kobe
Drawing of Miss Kobe given to Teruko Nakanishi when she went to a museum in Stamford, Connecticut

 
 

1997 

"Pursuit of Doll Ambassadors of Japan and America From 70 Years Ago" - This one-hour NHK special tells the story of Teruko Nakanishi's journey to America in search of Miss Kobe. In 1927, when she was a 5-year-old girl, she represented the city of Kobe when Japanese Friendship Dolls were sent to America. 

Seventy years later, Teruko Nakanishi, with a 1927 photo of her standing in front of Miss Kobe and Miss Hyogo, traveled to a museum in the state of Connecticut in search of Miss Kobe.  A museum official had an illustration (at right) drawn by his grandfather when Miss Kobe arrived at the museum.  However, Miss Kobe had been sold in the 1960s, and museum records do not indicate the identity of the buyer. So Teruko Nakanishi continues her search for dearly loved Miss Kobe.

As an interesting twist to this story of Miss Kobe, the TV program shows Teruko Nakanishi's visit to the Kansas City Museum of History and Science. For some unexplained reason, Miss Shizuoka, who resides at the museum, wears the kimono of Miss Kobe. This could be determined because the kimono worn by Miss Shizuoka has the mark of the city of Kobe (see illustration on this page).

This TV program also tells the moving story of the trip by a woman from Ohio to visit the Japanese school in Nara Prefecture that received the gift of her doll 70 years ago (web page about her trip).  Although the doll no longer can be found, the school still has a photo from the time the doll came to their school.  The program shows her visit to a nearby school to visit with a Blue-eyed Doll living there.


Photo of Mary used with permission of Azuma Elementary School (Gunma Prefecture)

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