Hello, everyone. Do you know who I am?
I am Koneta, a Blue-eyed Doll.
Now I am displayed in the principal's office
of Saigo Elementary School.
I want to tell you the history of what I have
gone through for over 70 years.
About 70 years ago Dr. Gulick hoped that America
and Japan would want to become good friends.
He encouraged American children, "Let's
send Blue-eyed Dolls to Japanese children to deepen our friendship with
I was named Koneta after the city of Wapakoneta
When I arrived at Saigo Elementary School in April
1927, I received a huge welcome from the children.
I enjoyed very happy days because everyone was
glad that I had come.
However, war began between Japan and America in
1941. The sound of bombs increased day by day, and one town after another was
Some said, "Burn the American dolls
because they are dolls of the enemy." My friends, the other Blue-eyed
Dolls, one after another were burned and were stabbed with bamboo spears. I
was very sad.
What happened to me at Saigo Elementary School?
"Get rid of Koneta," said the
principal at that time.
Mr. Inagaki, one of the teachers at the school,
said, " Leave it to me," and he secretly brought me to his house and
Mr. Inagaki, who had to go to war, thought it
would be trouble for his family if I were found.
He wrapped me up in newspaper and quietly hid
me in the back of a closet at school.
In 1987, I was found in the school closet.
After that, I have been taken care of by
everyone at Saigo Elementary School.
In January 1996, I returned home to Wapakoneta, my
birthplace, for the first time.
At that time, Northridge Elementary School and
Saigo Elementary School became sister schools.
I was very happy because I was warmly welcomed
by the children of Northridge Elementary School.
Last November two dolls were made just like me
through the cooperation of Toyohashi City. The children of Saigo
Elementary School are using one of those to learn about me and my history.
The other one is going to the children of Northridge Elementary School. I
will be able to make many friends, and from now on I will live happily
surrounded by the kind children of Saigo Elementary School.
The photo at right shows the original Koneta
(center) with her two replicas (left and right).