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American blue-eyed dolls given 89 years ago still cherished in Japan

NHK-BS1 “Kokusai Hodo” reported on about 12,000 blue-eyed dolls that were presented to Japanese kindergartens and elementary schools from the U.S. as a symbol of friendship between the two nations in 1927. The program said the dolls were sent by missionary Sidney Gulick, who came up with the idea of sending American dolls to Japan to deepen people-to-people exchanges as he was concerned about deteriorating relations between the two nations. The program said while Japanese children were delighted by the arrival of the dolls, many of them were disposed of after the Pacific War began 14 years later. The program reported on a Japanese woman who found 12 dolls that survived the war, adding that she recently hosted a “reunion” of such dolls in Kobe and invited Gulick’s grandson to attend. He said: “I think my grandfather would be so happy if he were here. I think his spirit is here. As my grandfather said, if we really want peace in the world, we need to teach children to learn to appreciate each other.” The program said it has been confirmed that there are about 330 blue-eyed dolls in Japan today, adding that Japan gave 58 Japanese dolls to the U.S. 89 years ago and more than 40 of them are on display in museums in the U.S.

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