Blue-eyed Dolls
In late March 1988, when straightening out the inside of the old wooden school house that was soon to be demolished in order to rebuild part of the Osawa Elementary School building, a wooden box of about 50 centimeters on each edge with glass on all sides was discovered.

Inside the box was stored a "Blue-eyed Doll" and a Japanese doll. Also inside the box were a Blue-eyed Doll passport and a letter from the sender of the doll. It was discovered then that the doll's name was Martha Heath.

In 1927, American missionary Dr. Sidney Gulick together with Eiichi Shibusawa created a plan to give American dolls to Japan as "Friendship Ambassadors of Peace." When almost 13,000 dolls were given to Japanese elementary schools and kindergartens, there was also the influence of the song by Ujo Noguchi that was popular at that time. The "Blue-eyed Dolls," called such based on the song, were enthusiastically welcomed everywhere in Japan.

When World War II started, the Blue-eyed Dolls met the cruel fate of being burned and crushed as a lesson to the children about the enemy America. However, some time later after the war stories have come to light about dolls that were hidden and protected by kindhearted people. About 300 dolls, which survived in various ways, are confirmed to exist now. Today there are 12 dolls in Saitama Prefecture. Our school is the only one with a doll in Koshitani City.

From left: Martha Heath,
Ichimatsu doll, Sara

Martha's younger sister Sara was given in 1995 by Sidney Gulick, 3d, the grandson of Dr. Gulick. Also, at that time it was pointed out that the correct reading of the name is "Martha Heath" rather than "Watera Hayes," which is how the doll's name had been pronounced until then.

In 1995, the animation film "The Story of the Blue-eyed Doll" was created using Osawa Elementary School and Martha as the inspiration for the story.

This is an English translation of a Japanese web page (link no longer available).
Special thanks to Osawa Elementary School for permission to publish this web page.

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Go to web site created by three 6th-grade students
at Osawa Elementary School

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