Miss Nagasaki's Homecoming    Across a Century

Doll Summit

Sasebo, Excited to
Make it Happen

Last summer the Nagasaki Shimbun published a series of articles examining the theme of the "Japanese-American Doll Exchange" of 1927. This series was entitled "Dolls Across the Ocean -- Looking at a Century of War." Miss Nagasaki (Tamako Nagasaki) was among the 58 Ambassador Dolls (Torei Ningyo) that crossed the Pacific Ocean from Japan as an thank-you gift for the "Blue-eyed Dolls" given by America. Tamako, whose whereabouts had been unknown, was discovered after 73 years. Many people were involved in the doll exchange between Japan and America that took place with the hope of "peace through children's friendship." The exchange left warm memories in the heart of each person involved.

The discovery of Miss Nagasaki drew various reactions from our readers. There were many people who found out about the news of "Tamako's discovery" and suggested, "Let's arrange a 'doll summit'." This included Shigeo Matsunaga (Sasebo City, former city councilman). Mr. Matsunaga was one of the people who met a Blue-eyed Doll in 1927 at Ono Common School when he was an elementary school student there. "I have been exchanging information about the search for Blue-eyed Dolls with people outside this prefecture. Even now that surprising encounter with the cute Western doll that I first met as a child has not been forgotten."


Delighted children surround "Monica," the Friendship Doll given by Mr. Gulick, 3d (Sasebo City, Harabun-cho, Ono Elementary School)   

Regarding the doll summit, Mr. Matsunaga said with tears welling up in his eyes, "I really  want to have a homecoming for Tamako. On this occasion, by all means I want to hold a '75-year Anniversary Reunion' for the Blue-eyed Dolls of Nagasaki Prefecture or Kyushu. As soon as the homecoming arrangements have been decided, we are just waiting in Sasebo to make preparations so that we can receive her at any time."

In Sasebo specific activities have started toward the formation of a "Homecoming Committee." This year in June several supporters from the Committee, including Mr. Matsunaga, attended the presentation ceremony of "Monica," the Friendship Doll given by Mr. Gulick, 3d, to Ono Elementary School. One of these attendees, Sumi Hisayo (company president and the Chairman of the Sasebo City's 100th Anniversary Children's Song Festival Committee), comments, "The way this is different than other prefectures that have had homecomings is that both Nagasaki and Sasebo are international cities. The negotiations and the securing of funds for the homecoming will probably require a great deal of work and energy. But establishing a foundation of friendship exchanges and of hope for peace is our duty as adults."

The year 2002 is the 100th anniversary of the founding of Sasebo City, and this year is being publicized as "Sasebo's Year of Progress." During this time various events and activities are being held. Many people in Sasebo are full of enthusiasm, wanting to bring about a homecoming for Miss Nagasaki and to make it a central part of the 100th-anniversary events.

At the same time, an enthusiastic movement of volunteers is starting up also in Nagasaki City, where 74 years ago a grand welcoming ceremony and farewell ceremony for Miss Nagasaki were held.
(Culture Section, Miss Nagasaki Data Collection Team)

Published on August 24, 2001

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This is a translation of a Japanese web page (link no longer available).
Special thanks to the Nagasaki Shimbun for permission to publish this web page.
Special thanks to Hirobumi Toyama for assistance on the English translation.

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