Takanosu Elementary School's Blue-eyed Doll Mary

In 1927, more than 12,000 Blue-eyed Dolls, given to Japan from America as messengers of peace, were sent from Yokohama to elementary schools throughout the country.

Originally, there were great welcomes for the dolls, and they were exhibited even at Hina Matsuri (Doll Festival). However, during the Pacific War (World War II), they were considered to be dolls of the enemy country. They were burnt and were hit in air raids, and they were lost and forgotten.

However, some dolls were secretly hidden in storage rooms and cabinets by kind people. The doll at left, Mary, was discovered after being hidden away for 47 years.

Currently, the existence of 256 Blue-eyed Dolls in the entire country and 6 dolls in Toyama Prefecture have been confirmed.



My name is Mary, the Blue-eyed Doll. About 70 years ago I came to Japan from America, together with 12,000 friends, so that Japan and America could be good friends forever. We were dressed in various Western-style clothing by American girls.


 


In Japan, welcoming ceremonies took place to greet the dolls, and we Blue-eyed Dolls were received by various schools throughout Japan.

Japanese girls exhibited us at the Hina Matsuri (Doll Festival), and they took very loving care of us. Also, they collected money, and Japanese dolls were sent to America from Japan as a return present.




 
However, even though it was thought "Japan and America are good friends," that time did not continue long. Japan went to war with America, my original home. The Blue-eyed Dolls born in America could no longer be exhibited and no longer hugged since we were considered to be spies from an enemy country.


 


"Be careful." A loud voice echoed across the packed athletic field. All the children from the school had gathered together. The principal, dressed in military-like clothing called the "national dress," stood on top of a platform.

"Japan is fighting a war with America. Therefore, today we will all attack the enemy like soldiers. The current enemy is the American doll with blue eyes that was exhibited at the Hina Matsuri (Doll Festival). Being something sent as an enemy spy, she is a terrible enemy. I want you to bravely attack her so that we will not lose."


When the principal came down from the platform, a young male teacher brought a wooden stick. "Now beat and attack this doll. In order from the largest student, you will beat the doll one time each."

The young male teacher used the stick like a sword and struck the doll forcefully. The doll screamed out.

In such a manner many dolls throughout Japan had their heads cut off, their legs torn off, and their hands blown off. They were torn to pieces and destroyed.



However, there were people who protected the Blue-eyed Dolls at the risk of their own lives.

One teacher in Gunma Prefecture, while thinking "it would be terrible if they found out," went to the school in the evening when it was nearly dark and quietly hid the "Blue-eyed Doll" in a place people did not go near.

Also, a principal in Hokkaido, telling everyone that "he personally burnt and threw away the Blue-eyed Doll," actually hid the doll in his own home's attic enclosed in a tin container until the end of the war. The Blue-eyed Doll softly cried "mama" and quietly closed her eyes.

In the meantime, what came of the Blue-eyed Doll Mary? Something happened one day after several decades had passed.



"Ah, there's something here." "What's this? A strange doll."

Eight years ago I was finally found far back in a cabinet in a small room of the old schoolhouse of Takanosu Elementary School. Very few people approached this cabinet on a daily basis. I kind woman teacher surely must have been hidden me far back in that cabinet.

After 50 years, I appeared again in the outside world. The terrible war had ended, and the children around me and the outside appearances had changed completely. Also, Japan and America had once again become good friends.



However, almost no Blue-eyed Dolls remain, with the more than 12,000 dolls reduced to just 200.

After passing through those sad times, barely 200 dolls remain, with only 6 now in Toyama Prefecture. One of these is Takanosu Elementary School's Blue-eyed Doll Mary.


 

Sources:

The Story of the Blue-eyed Doll (Aoi me no ningyou monogatari) (The Story of the Blue-eyed Doll Editing Committee)

Blue-eyed Dolls' Love Across the Ocean (Ningyoutachi no ai wa umi o koete) (Makiko Akasaki, A-Works)

Friendship Dolls (Yuujou no ningyou) (Kyouiku Shuppan)

My Name is Mary (Watashi no namae wa Merii) (Tonami High School Broadcast Club)


Special thanks to Takanosu Elementary School for permission to publish this web page.
This is an English translation of a Japanese web page.

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