Betty
Senmaya Elementary School

Former Principal
Shuji Hagisho with Betty

Betty came in 1927 to Senmaya Elementary School from Marshfield, Massachusetts, as one of over 12,000 dolls sent to Japan to promote friendship and peace between America and Japan. These dolls were given to elementary schools and kindergartens throughout Japan, and 263 were distributed to schools in Iwate Prefecture.

Although these dolls symbolized the desire for friendship and peace, when World War II broke out many of them were smashed or burned as "dolls of the enemy." Fortunately, Betty was protected by the teachers and others in the area, so she survived the war. Now only about 300 of the dolls remain in all Japan, and 12 remain in Iwate Prefecture.

Shuji Hagisho has had a long history together with Betty. He has been at Senmaya Elementary School as a student, teacher, and then principal from 1988 to 1990, when he retired. Especially during the time he served as Senmaya's principal, he contributed to the promotion of cultural exchange by such activities as sending letters of friendship to America. Shuji Hagisho was suddenly awakened to Betty's historical significance when he made the acquaintance of Eiko Takeda, a children's author who has done much research and written several books about the Blue-eyed Dolls sent from America in 1927.

 
Betty (right) with her new
friend Elizabeth (left)
 
 
Marshfield and Senmaya have renewed their close relationship as a result of mutual visits and exchanges of gifts.  In 1988, visitors from Senmaya brought Betty to Marshfield for a short homecoming visit. In 1989, a delegation of Massachusetts tourists visited Senmaya, and they were guests at a welcoming party in the town. Senmaya displays the Marshfield flag on special occasions of international exchange, and Marshfield has a plaque in the Town Hall that depicts Senmaya's tradition of raising horses.

In June 2002, a teacher from South River Elementary School in Marshfield delivered to Senmaya Elementary School a special gift of a new Friendship Doll named Elizabeth. Her visit to Senmaya continues the tradition of friendly relations between the two cities of Marshfield and Senmaya.

In January 2005, Shuji Hagisho and several other representatives from Senmaya took Betty on a homecoming trip to Marshfield to continue the warm relations between the two towns. You can read the details about this trip in the story "Miss Betty's Second Homecoming" by Noriko Gordon.

Elizabeth - New Friendship Doll
Friendship Visit on June 24, 2002

Article about Shuji Hagisho and Senmaya's Blue-eyed Doll

Return to American Blue-eyed Dolls - Individual Dolls

Special thanks to Barbara Roth for the material used to create this web page.


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