Translated from school's
"Blue-eyed Doll" Discovered by Former Students
"Miss A was the first person to show interest in this doll. NHK's TV program "Spotlight," which was broadcast on Wednesday, March 15 of last year (1973), covered a doll discovered at an elementary school in Gunma Prefecture. Seeing the doll, Miss A realized that it looked like the doll in the AV (audiovisual) room. Therefore, several of us ninth-grade girls began to do research about the doll."
The origin of this doll was unearthed by these former students, who began to do research about this old-fashioned doll found unadorned and covered with dust on top of a shelf in the AV room at Fuzoku Junior High School. This happened 17 years ago.
The results of the former students' investigative research were summarized in the 24th edition of the school's yearbook, Kiri no Hana (Paulownia Flower). Through the efforts of these former students, a book and a photo collection were presented about the few schools in Japan who had preserved the "Blue-eyed Dolls." Afterwards, the "Blue-eyed Doll" was moved from the AV room to the principal's office and taken good care of there. The school's ninth principal, Tadashi Nakagawa, writes, "In this book that includes a photo of the doll in the principal's office, the most dramatic item is a photo that shows a striking actress holding a "Blue-eyed Doll" in her arms, and in the background is the Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Dome. When I looked at this photo, I felt like I was seeing symbols of human good will (exchange through Blue-eyed Dolls, Japanese dolls given as a return present, welcoming ceremonies in both countries, post-war dolls) and human folly (racial discrimination, prejudice against foreigners, atomic bombs, destruction of Blue-eyed Dolls during the war by heartless people). In this way once in a while we heard about the dolls through the writings of the principal and a story told by the vice-principal at a school assembly, but until recently the students were not exposed that much to the "Blue-eyed Dolls." Therefore, it became easy to forget about the existence of our "Blue-eyed Doll," and new students did not even know about the doll.
"Blue-eyed Doll" Campaign
The "Blue-eyed Doll American Homecoming Exhibition," sponsored by the International Cultural Association, was approved already last year, and it was decided that our school's Blue-eyed Doll would also participate. In May 1989, we received a formal request to borrow the doll, and it was decided that our school's doll would be on a trip to faraway America for a long period of time from July to February of the following year. It would be a homecoming trip 62 years after she departed her hometown where she was born. At our school, the Cultural Committee led the effort to take advantage of the homecoming of the "Blue-eyed Doll." They presented the "Blue-eyed Doll" at a school assembly, and they carried out various "Blue-eyed Doll Campaign" activities beforehand to send off the doll to America.
What are "Blue-eyed Dolls"?
Here we will present once again Principal Nakagawa's essay and the research report prepared by the former students.
The American missionary Dr. Sidney Gulick, who had lived in Japan for more than twenty years, returned to America in 1913 due to health reasons. At that time in his country America, sentiment to expel Japanese immigrants was very strong. Dr. Gulick, being concerned about these feelings, sent about 12,000 dolls to Japan in 1927 by working together with 2.6 million people, which included American associations, Sunday schools, public and private schools, all types of children's organizations, PTAs, local volunteers, and even second-generation Japanese immigrants, who were at the vortex of anti-Japanese sentiment. As a return present, 58 high-class Japanese dolls were sent to America by means of one sen (half cent) contributions of Japanese children. Japan was in a recession in that period, so it was an extremely difficult time for even a one sen contribution. In both Japan and America, grand send-off and welcoming ceremonies were held. A connecting bridge of friendship and goodwill to and from the children of each country spanned the ocean like a rainbow.
The dolls added images to a Japanese children's song that was popular at that time. The following lyrics were sung, "A blue-eyed doll made of celluloid was born in America. When she arrived at a harbor in Japan, she had many tears in her eyes . . . . " The Blue-eyed Dolls became popular figures with Japanese children and also adults.
However, after the outbreak of World War II in December 1941, these Blue-eyed Dolls were enemy spies. Therefore, there was a radio broadcast that the dolls at every school must be burned or destroyed in some other way. Soldiers came and took away dolls at museums. At one school where the principal destroyed the doll by burning, straw was piled up in the school yard, and the doll was placed on top of the pile. After the older students stabbed the doll with spears, rocks were thrown at it, then the fire was lit, and the doll was burnt. In Hakodate also, almost all of the dolls were burned and destroyed. This doll at our school was forgotten and left as it was.
There were 12,739 dolls given in 1927 as Japanese-American friendship messengers. However, the number of dolls confirmed to exist now is 230 in all of Japan and 20 in Hokkaido. The Blue-eyed Doll at our school is one of these. We are proud of the bravery and love shown by Fuzoku's former students and teachers to protect and save the doll.
Fuzoku Elementary and Junior High School was in one building, but in the early winter of 1969 the Elementary School and the Junior High School moved to separate buildings in the Mihara area of Hakodate. At that time, the Blue-eyed Doll also moved. They thought they would get rid of many old things because of the move, but the old doll was moved together with some library books so it would not be thrown out.
Wendy! Nickname Decided
When the dolls left America, they each had their own name and carried a passport. However, the name of our school's doll is not known now, and the passport does not remain. Perhaps fearing that the doll would be cruelly treated as an "enemy doll," the teachers at that time wiped out any evidence that there was a Blue-eyed Doll. Ideas for a nickname were solicited from students, and the final decision made by the Cultural Committee was "Wendy." Now the name of Wendy has become quite familiar to our ears and mouths.
Alumni Association Donates Panel of Wendy's Photos
In the hall opposite to the library on the second floor, a large four-fold photo panel is exhibited. Members of the Alumni Association made and donated this to commemorate Wendy's homecoming. She is kept quietly in a glass case in the principal's office, but since she is exhibited in the hallway where we always pass by, we think frequently about Fuzoku's companion.
Wendy Busy with Modeling and Picture Taking
The campaign carried out various activities. The art department used Wendy as a model and held a splendid drawing exhibition. Also, they had a photo taking session together with Wendy.
Learning About "Blue-eyed Dolls" in English Class
Stories about the "Blue-eyed Dolls" were edited for use as moral studies teaching materials and were made into an English language textbook. Currently this textbook is no longer used at our school, but we cover it in our studies in class on special occasions. We can get to know the facts concerning the "Blue-eyed Dolls" and can learn many things about our condition as humans.
We'll present one student's thoughts about these studies:
Wendy Dressed Up
Wendy is already 62 years old. Her clothes were probably the ones she had when she arrived from America -- a wool sweater, a pleated skirt, and a wool hat. However, they were terribly moth-eaten and had many holes.
Since she looked so miserable for her homecoming, we decided to give her a new set of clothes. Many designs were submitted when we solicited ideas for the design of Wendy's new clothing. We changed her clothing to something easily removed, and we made her a new dress with the help of the teachers. We asked the vice-principal, who made a brand-new hat for her. Thanks to the school office workers, Wendy's face and hands were cleaned and the grime was removed. She became so beautiful that we could hardly recognize her.
Messages Entrusted to Her at Grand Farewell Ceremony
On July 15, 1989, all of the school's students, led by the Cultural Committee, took part in a farewell ceremony for Wendy. The Chairman of the Alumni Association and the Director of Administration also attended, and at this time they presented the photo panel to the school. With fathers and mothers also joining together with the students as a PTA activity, a grand farewell ceremony took place.
On the occasion of Wendy's return home, we entrusted to her three messages and three letters introducing our school. When Wendy traveled around to each place in America, we asked her to deliver these to our American friends. Each class wrote them in English and Japanese.
The ninth-grade students were responsible for the messages, and the eighth-grade students wrote the school introductions.
The messages and school introductions were read at the farewell ceremony. We expressed our feelings of hope for international peace and friendship entrusted to Wendy.
As the seventh-grade students announced the parting words, "Wendy, good-bye!", we knew we would miss her. It was a meaningful ceremony filled with deep emotion.
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Special thanks to Manami Fukuda, a 1987 graduate of Fuzoku Junior High School, for providing the photo and for obtaining the information used on this web page.
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