Another Peace Messenger
Second Doll Arrives at Matsuyama Elementary School
American Gives New Doll, Impressed by
Safekeeping of First-generation Doll

Anita (left), Blue-eyed Doll that recently arrived at Matsuyama Elementary School; Dell (right), doll given 75 years ago; and Japanese doll

On March 4, 2002, a Blue-eyed Doll named Anita was given by America to Matsuyama Elementary School (Principal Takao Sato, 169 students). In 1927, a doll named Dell came to Yamadera Common School (former name of Matsuyama Elementary School) as a bridge of Japanese-American friendship. The grandson of the original organizer of the project to send dolls to Japan was impressed that Dell had been kept with care, so he gave a new doll to the school.

Missionary Dr. Sidney Gulick, who was pained by the rising anti-Japanese sentiment in the U.S. in the 1920s, began an international exchange through Blue-eyed Dolls in order to cultivate mutual trust between Japan and America. Through donations collected from American citizens, about 12,000 dolls were given as "messengers of peace" to elementary schools and kindergartens throughout Japan.

However, these dolls that crossed the Pacific Ocean were disposed of as "dolls of the enemy" when World War II started in 1941. There were some dolls that were preserved with care even during such a time. According to the Blue-eyed Doll Exchange Association (headquarters in Yokohama), over 300 dolls have been found in all Japan. There are six dolls that remain in the Shonai Region, including ones at Matsuyama Elementary School, Haguro Daiichi Elementary School in Haguro Town, and Minami Hirata Elementary School in Hirata Town.

Ceremony to Welcome Anita
Sidney Gulick, 3d, grandson of Dr. Gulick, was deeply touched that the old dolls have been kept safely, and he began giving new dolls to Japan about ten years ago.

On March 4, a "Blue-eyed Doll Welcoming Ceremony" was held in the school's gymnasium. Kana Sato, a children's representative from the second grade, says, "Dell also is happy to have Anita as a new friend." Sixth-grader Kaori Nagaminamikaze gave a welcoming greeting, "We want to take good care of these two dolls." Tokunori Miura (87), who was a fifth-grade student at the same school 75 years ago when Dell was given, talked about his memories of that time. After this talk, Yuji Suzuki, Chairman of the Yamagata Blue-eyed Doll Association, presented Anita, who has long brown hair, to fifth-grader Yusuke Saito and other student representatives.

The two dolls are displayed now in the principal's office as symbols of peace.

Return to American Blue-eyed Dolls - Individual Dolls
Return to American Blue-eyed Dolls - New Dolls

Special thanks to The Shonai Nippo for permission to publish this web page.
Originally published in The Shonai Nippo, March 5, 2002.
Special thanks to Yuji Suzuki for providing the article.

Main Page | 1927 Doll Exchange | Japanese Friendship Dolls | American Blue-eyed Dolls
Mass Media / Books / Films | Letters
Other Friendship Doll Programs | Teachers' Corner
Links | Recent Changes | Acknowledgements
| Children's Page