Over 12,000 American dolls arrived in Japan in early 1927. However, with the outbreak of World War II, the Japanese government issued an order in 1943 that the "enemy dolls" from America must be destroyed. Most of the once treasured dolls were destroyed by burning, smashing, and mutilating them, sometimes at the schools in front of young students. However, thanks to the courage of a few brave teachers and other individuals, many of the Blue-eyed Dolls survived by being hidden away in attics and storage closets.
Today about 300 Blue-eyed Dolls throughout Japan have been found! The surviving dolls are precious objects that help Japanese school children understand the meaning of peace.
The links below are to photos of the
Blue-eyed Dolls of that prefecture. Please note that the number of dolls in
the photos may differ from the number in the table below
It is commonly reported (including on this Friendship Dolls web site) that the number of American dolls distributed was 12,739, but this number differs from the total of 12,294 shown in the records.
The American Blue-eyed Dolls came from all but one of the 48 states in existence at the time. Four states gave over 50 percent of the dolls.
Page | 1927 Doll Exchange | Japanese
Friendship Dolls | American Blue-eyed Dolls