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American Blue-eyed Dolls

When the 12,739 American Friendship Dolls with blue eyes arrived in Japan in 1927, they made a profound impression on Japanese children. Even today, these dolls continue their mission of friendship and peace in almost 300 elementary schools and kindergartens throughout Japan.

Four Remaining Dolls
in Ehime Prefecture

The history of the American Blue-eyed Dolls did not run smoothly, with most of them destroyed or lost during World War II. However, starting in the 1970s, many dolls have been found that were previously hidden away and forgotten about. 

Each of the individual dolls has a fascinating history. Many schools have created web pages to tell the history of their Blue-eyed Dolls. In addition, several web sites in Japan have been established to tell the fascinating story of the American Blue-eyed Dolls. One web site seeks to connect by Internet the schools throughout Japan that have Blue-eyed Dolls.

Even though many of the American dolls sent in 1927 did not have blue eyes, they soon became known as "Blue-eyed Dolls" based on a popular children's song entitled "Blue-eyed Doll."

Over the past two decades, Sidney Gulick, 3d, and his wife Frances, in addition to other Americans, have sent new dolls to Japanese elementary schools and kindergartens. These new American dolls continue the tradition of friendship started in 1927.

Photo used with permission of Masato Kono and Kamiyama Elementary School

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