Nagano Broadcasting System (NBS) of Japan chose HBS for the shoot because of the
school's involvement in the doll exchange program since 2000, according to
Brandon Lambert, spokesperson for NBS. The film will tell the story of how dolls
have played an important role in establishing international relations between
the two cultures
contacted Joan Bloom, associate professor at HBS and to the school's coordinator
of the Friendship Doll Program, to arrange the filming.
1927, 58 Friendship Dolls, standing 33-inches high and clad in silk kimonos,
were sent from Japan to the United States in response to the12,739 dolls sent to
Japan from American children to encourage friendly relations between the two
countries. The Japanese dolls were distributed to different locations around the
U.S. One doll named Miss Nagano was given to the Roger Williams Park Museum in
Providence in 1929.
U.S. relations with Japan deteriorated and the two countries fought against each
other in World War II, the Japanese dolls around the U.S. were removed from
display cases. Many were not seen for decades.
last documentation of the Nagano doll in Providence was in a photo published in
a Providence Journal article
dated October 21, 1929.
research tracing the Nagano doll’s whereabouts showed that the doll had been
misidentified. It had been labeled Miss Karafuto, representing a former colony
of Japan. The mislabeled doll has been the property of the Delaware History
Museum for decades. It was determined that the doll was actually the Nagano doll
originally on display in Providence.
has included the return of the doll in the documentary as part of a one-year
agreement between the Delaware History Museum and Nagano’s Shinano Education
Association. Footage of other Friendship Dolls from around the country and a
send-off party in Delaware for the doll are also in the film. The Nagano doll
will go back to Japan for one year, according to the agreement.
2000, three Friendship Dolls were sent from Japan to HBS for display. In return,
HBS sent American dolls and a state scrapbook to Japanese students to help them
learn about Rhode Island.
Principal Ron Tibbetts said the visit of Nagano Broadcasting System and the
subsequent role in the documentary are by-products of the cultural awareness
program the students are exposed to at the school. The HBS curriculum encourages
students to learn about different customs and traditions of other countries.
history of the Friendship Doll Program dates back to 1926 with the formation of
the Committee on World Friendship Among Children. Sidney Gulick, an American
missionary who taught in Japan for 25 years, coordinated the project to send the
to the United States from Japan in 1913, Gulick found that Americans resented
the influx of Japanese immigrants because they appeared to be taking many
laborer jobs at lower wages and ousting the American workers. Between 1907 and
1924, the U.S. took steps to limit the number of Japanese immigrants in the
country, culminating with the Immigration Act of 1924, which banned immigration
from Japan to the U.S.
wanted the dolls to be a message of peace to Japanese children.
Gulick believed that if Japanese and American children could learn to
understand one another when they were young, they would remain friends long into
said she is teaching this message at HBS because it is a good cultural
experience for the kids. “The students understand that kids in Japan are
similar to kids in the United States,” she said. “They can see that they can
be friendly with kids of other cultures.”
years after the first dolls were exchanged between the countries, HBS
students are still fostering peace and companionship among the nations. And it
has been captured on film.
More information on Friendship Dolls at Henry Barnard School
Page | 1927 Doll Exchange | Japanese
Friendship Dolls | American Blue-eyed Dolls