History of Blue-eyed Dolls

After the opening of Japan at the beginning of the Meiji Era, the country was not rich and there were many people who suffered from hunger. As a result, many Japanese people emigrated to America.

Since the Japanese immigrants did good work even for low wages, there were cases where they took away Americans' work. Due to this, antagonism toward the Japanese immigrant workers, racial discrimination, and cultural prejudice grew. Criticism toward Japanese was rising. In 1924, the "New Immigration Act" was passed by the American Congress.

As Japanese-American relations worsened because of this, Mr. Sidney Gulick had an idea to foster friendship between Japan and America. Since there was the custom of celebrating Hina Matsuri (Doll Festival) in Japan, he formulated a plan to give Blue-eyed Dolls to Japan so the people could enjoy them.

In January 1927, the ship Siberia Maru, which carried the Blue-eyed Dolls, entered the harbors in Yokohama and Kobe. The total number of dolls was about 12,000.

Pauline was welcomed to Nishimae Elementary School, but as the fighting during World War II became more fierce, the doll's existence was threatened. The Blue-eyed Dolls born in America were no longer displayed since they were considered to be spies of the enemy.

However, someone hid Pauline. The theories of where she was hidden include the shrine cabinet, the night duty room, the basement, or a closet in the principal's office. The war ended in 1945, and Pauline was not discovered until several decades later when the school building was being renovated.

Now (as of February 17, 2001) Maureen, Pauline, and Mary Sue are at Nishimae Elementary School.

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