Play for Elementary School Children        The Secret Friend
By Urinko Theater Company in Nagoya

The "Blue-eyed Dolls" came from America!

In 1927, about 12,700 doll were sent to Japan from America.

When a doll was laid on its side, it said "mama" and closed its eyes. The dolls also came with passports, friendship letters, and changes of clothing.

In America at that time, there had arisen a movement to expel Japanese immigrants. This hurt deeply the heart of Dr. Sidney Gulick, who had stayed in Japan for more than 20 years doing educational activities. He appealed to all Americans to send Friendship Dolls to Japan with the motto of "world peace through children."

In Japan, the "Japanese Committee on World Friendship Among Children" was established, led by Eiichi Shibusawa. The committee gained the cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the dolls were given through the Ministry of Education to elementary and junior high schools throughout Japan.

However, war with America began in 1941, and soon the dolls were burned and destroyed as "dolls from the hated enemy." Among the original dolls, about 305 now remain throughout Japan. During the war it was a terrible thing to not listen to a government order, such as the one to destroy the dolls.

Consider the feelings of the people who received the dolls. Some people, not able to bear the burning of the dolls, secretly hid them.

This play has been created with the belief that we want to leave to our children, who will be responsible for the future, the idea that world peace begins with accepting and understanding different cultures.

Starting in the middle of May 2002, this play will be performed in various places around Nagoya.
On July 13 and 14 (Saturday and Sunday), there will be a public performance at Artopia Hall of the Nagoya City Youth Cultural Center.

Children's comments about play
Performance of play at Ichigi Elementary School on October 21, 2002

This is an English translation of a Japanese web page (link no longer available).
Special thanks to Urinko Theater Company for permission to publish this web page.

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