Hello Katie!

Katie arrived at Takasago Kindergarten in October 2002 as a gift from the children of Central Elementary School in Olathe, Kansas. In December 1996, Central Elementary received a Japanese doll named Midori through the Friendship Doll Program of Mukogawa Fort Wright Institute. Midori was exhibited in a special place in the school's library, and she now makes special visits to classrooms when students are studying Japan. The students and staff of Central Elementary wanted to reciprocate with an American doll. The student council raised funds by selling ice cream sandwiches, and they picked a special doll for Japanese children.

Central Elementary asked Mukogawa Fort Wright Institute to find Katie a good home in Japan at a school interested in international exchange. Mukogawa Fort Wright Institute selected Katie's new home to be Takasago Kindergarten, which has preserved two American Friendship Dolls received in 1927. Takasago Kindergarten organized a presentation ceremony, where the children sang the song "Blue-eyed Doll" to welcome Katie, standing on a table next to a Japanese flag and American flag. About 200 people attended the ceremony, including parents and the former directors of the kindergarten.

Children at Takasago
Welcome Katie in 1997
Ms. Shimizu, Takasago Kindergarten's Director at the time, wanted to do something special to celebrate the arrival of Katie in the year of the 90th anniversary of the kindergarten's founding. So she asked Kyoko Nishimura, an author of children's stories, to write the story of the history of Katie and the kindergarten's two original Friendship Dolls, Erika and Helen. Ms. Nishimura wrote a 30-page booklet titled Hello Katie, which told the story from the point of view of Erika.

Bottom photo from book Hello Katie, 1997.

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