Marshall Central

A "Blue-eyed Doll is kept with care at Tahara Chubu Elementary School. The doll's name is "Marshall Central."

The "Blue-eyed Dolls" were sent by American children about 70 years ago in 1927. At that time America and Japan did not have good relations. Dr. Sidney Gulick, who thought this situation was regrettable, advocated to Americans that they cultivate in children a spirit of international friendship. Many people responded to his plea, and 12,739 Blue-eyed Dolls traveled the long distance to Japan. The dolls had passports, and they carried a message from Dr. Gulick. One of these dolls is Marshall Central.

Marshall Central arrived at Mikawa Tahara Station on March 8, 1927, and was greeted by many children and townspeople. Afterwards, the doll was displayed every year with Japanese hina dolls at the Doll Festival (Hina Matsuri) in March. The doll also joined in fun school events such as children's music concerts.


1927 Photo of
Marshall Central

Likewise, 58 Japanese dolls were sent to America from Japan as "Dolls of Gratitude" (Torei Ningyo). This was accomplished by the girls of those days giving one sen (half cent) each. The doll sent from Aichi Prefecture was named "Miss Aichi." A doll named "Miyako," made in much the same way as the original Torei Ningyo, is kept at Tahara Chubu Elementary School.

However, afterwards, relations between Japan and America unfortunately grew worse. The Blue-eyed Dolls, considered to be dolls of the enemy, were destroyed by discarding them, burning them, and stabbing them with bamboo spears.

At Tahara Chubu Elementary, Principal Seizaburo Murase had the brave attitude that "we must not throw away such a valuable doll as this," and they say he put the doll in a place where no human eyes would see it.


"American Doll,"
words written on lid of box
where Marshall Central is stored

An era of peace arrived. After about 30 years had passed, Marshall Central was discovered in the same condition as before in the basement of the old auditorium. Now there are 9 Blue-eyed Dolls altogether that remain in Aichi Prefecture. The number of their friends have decreased, but since the time they were given to Japan they continue to tell us about the spirit of international friendship.

Welcome Ceremony for Marshall Central
at Mikawa Tahara Station

This is an English translation of a Japanese article.
Article and photos provided by Tahara Chubu Elementary School.
No date is on the article, but it was written in about 1997 based on the reference in the article to the Blue-eyed Dolls being sent about 70 years ago (in 1927).

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