Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 127 Share on Twitter 2 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
Exclusive to OpEd News:
Life Arts    H4'ed 12/23/17

How Citizen Peace Ambassador Gifts Transcended Time & Space

By       (Page 1 of 4 pages)   4 comments, 6 series
Follow Me on Twitter     Message Meryl Ann Butler
Become a Fan
  (82 fans)

The U.S. was in a post-war recession and Americans were afraid that immigrants would steal their jobs when the 1924 Immigration Act was passed. It restricted the immigration of Europeans, particularly Italians, Slavs, Eastern European Jews and Africans, and it completely banned the immigration of Arabs and Japanese. This is the inspiring story of how 2.6 million Americans responded in an historic project that most people have never heard about.

According to the U.S. Department of State, the purpose of the 1924 Immigration Act was "to preserve the ideal of American homogeneity," and limit unemployment resulting from the perceived "economic threat posed to white businessmen and farmers." (No restrictions were put on Hispanic countries, however.)

The Rev. Dr. Sidney Gulick, an educator, author and Congregational minister who had spent 25 years in Japan, was deeply concerned by these new policies. He believed that whatever discord there might be between nations or governments, "citizens will strive to conquer it and make friends," and that the future of the world was in the hands and hearts of children.

Rev. Sydney Gulick meets Miss Nagoya in Chicago along with Ryukichi Sekiya and the Japanese Consul, Tamara Tajiro. A local Girl Scout. Miss Elizabeth Getch. inspects the kimono, Chicago, December 15, 1927.
Rev. Sydney Gulick meets Miss Nagoya in Chicago along with Ryukichi Sekiya and the Japanese Consul, Tamara Tajiro. A local Girl Scout. Miss Elizabeth Getch. inspects the kimono, Chicago, December 15, 1927.
(Image by Public domain)
  Details   DMCA

Gulick organized the "Doll Messengers of Friendship" project as a vehicle for children in the U.S. and Japan to develop friendships. Over two million Americans responded to Dr. Gulick's invitation to participate.

The "Doll Messengers of Friendship" project was a significant event in U.S. history. Nearly 2.6 million Americans participated in the 1927 Friendship Doll project, a large portion of whom were the women and girls who dressed and prepared the dolls. This represented about 2.5% of the total US population, which was 106,400,000 according to the 1920 census.

For comparison: that's more than twice as much support, by percent, as the Women's March on Washington garnered--the January 2017 Women's March comprised about 3 million participants, and represented about 1% of today's population of approximately 300 million people.

Womens March on Washington
Womens March on Washington
(Image by (From Wikimedia) National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Daniel Gagnon, JTF-DC /, Author: See Source)
  Details   Source   DMCA

In January, 1927, almost 13,000 dolls, along with handmade travel wardrobes, luggage and letters of friendship, were shipped to Japan in time for the annual Hinamatsuri (Doll's Day festival) in March. The Japanese celebrated the dolls' arrival with parades and events.

Before the end of the year, Japan sent 58 artistically crafted dolls to America as reciprocal gifts. Each one was nearly three feet tall.

Friendship Doll Farewell Party, 1927
Friendship Doll Farewell Party, 1927
(Image by via Alan Scott Pate)
  Details   DMCA

Every doll was accompanied by a wardrobe, furniture and a passport addressed "To all young friends in the United States," which read: "You are kindly requested to accept the pretty bearer of this passport of good will as a messenger sent by your young friends in Japan to convey to you their sentiment of warm regard and friendship. Please be good to her, and she will stay with you all her life, always a pleasant companion and a true friend." Signed, "All the People of the Land of Cherry Blossoms. October 30, 1927."

The dolls were named after each Japanese prefecture (geographical subdivision), and were called "Torei Ningyo," Ambassador Dolls.

Miss Ishikawa
Miss Ishikawa
(Image by Alan Scott Pate)
  Details   DMCA

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3  |  4

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

Touching 3   Inspiring 3   Well Said 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Meryl Ann Butler Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Meryl Ann Butler is an artist, author, educator and OpedNews Managing Editor who has been actively engaged in utilizing the arts as stepping-stones toward joy-filled wellbeing since she was a hippie. She began writing for OpEdNews in Feb, 2004. She became a Senior Editor in August 2012 and Managing Editor in January, (more...)

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Follow Me on Twitter     Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Other Series: View All 14 Articles in "Peace & Nonviolence"

Other Series: View All 21 Articles in "Quilting and Fiber Arts"

Other Series: View All 8 Articles in "Solutions Activism"

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

CEO Ridiculed for Raising Minimum Wage to $70K Has the Last Laugh

The Bizarre Theft of Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski's Miracle Cancer Cure

Mysterious Bayou Sinkhole Continues to Cave In: Radiation, Hydrocarbons Detected

Tips for Avoiding Coronavirus

Relentless Bayou Corne Sinkhole Nearly 30 Times Original Size (UPDATED with Cave-In Video)

Sex, Love, and Jesus: A Few Surprises in the Easter Basket

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend