What Japanese Children Wrote About the Dolls

After extensive repairs, Miss Toyama was put on display in Japan with one of the thousands of blue-eyed dolls that American children sent to Japan in 1927.

Seeing the dolls today, Japanese schoolchildren had a lot to say about them in letters sent to the J.B. Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Ky. Sixth-grader Eriko Ohashi wrote:

"I believe that the dolls with blue eyes have many memories. While many of the dolls had been burned or lost, we have one of the fortunate blue-eyed dolls in the principal's office in our Sango Elementary School. It is named Mary Brown.

"I think the teachers at that time did not burn the doll because they felt sorry for her, and I am glad they didn't. Because the doll was a little old, my first impression was that it was scary, but after learning that it has been serving as a diplomatic ambassador from America, it is a treasure in my heart."

Ai Funaki, a sixth-grader, wrote: "The song, `The Dolls With Blue Eyes,' was popular among children when my mother was a small girl. I believe that these dolls have been watching the relationship between Japan and America through their blue eyes. Please take care of Miss Toyama, the doll our prefecture sent you, just as you have before."

Masakazu Fujiki was sad when she learned that many of the blue-eyed dolls were destroyed during World War II. But many were saved by brave people who said, "These dolls are not our enemies. The dolls have good hearts in them." Masakazu was pleased that her school preserved "Betty Roe" and believes that Miss Toyama was saved by all the American and Japanese children's wishes for friendship. When Miss Toyama toured Toyama prefecture recently, Masakazu was very moved to see the blue-eyed doll with her and wrote:

"Betty Roe and Miss Toyama ... are standing side by side in an exhibition. I wonder what they are talking about after 70 years?"

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