Momotaro’s Sea Eagle: Highlighting People in the Background of the War

Highlighting People in the Background of the War

The film of Momotaro’s sea eagle is propaganda of World War II. However, a unique feature of this particular propaganda is that the purpose is not to dehumanize the enemy in order to create the justification of war. Instead, the Momotaro’s sea eagle focuses on encouraging and promoting greater participation of Japanese citizens during the war time.

Through image of marines of United States, the audiences can observe that there is no dehumanization of enemy. For instance, though the soldiers are portrayed as less-intelligent, disloyal and a coward, the images that film is presenting are different from typical propaganda’s radical transformation of human into inhumane being.

Presenting American marines as coward, less-intelligent rather than evil

Furthermore, there is no clear reason or justification of the attack on Pearl Harbor in this film. In fact, there is no direct violence done to any live characters in the film. Then why was this propaganda created?

What the propaganda is really promoting through this film is collective identity under name of Japan. The film is encouraging more participation from the citizens through images shown in the film. One important thing to note is that the plots of the film are different from the original folk tale. The film does not start with the peach being found by old grandmother which introduces the supernatural features of Momotaro. The reason why the film did not include any type of introduction or explanation of the heroic character Momotaro is because there was no need. This is actually the most important aspect of Momotaro’s sea eagle as propaganda. The film is not about a heroic character that can magically save the country with superpower. It is about people who are supporting in the background of the war.

Although the title is “Momotaro’s sea eagle” and Momotaro do appear in the movie, there is no important role given to this character. Unlike the original folk tale, the movie is not built around the heroic character. The focus of the film is actually on the others except Momotaro; the ordinary and identical characters, nothing special yet crucial beings that makes the war possible.  The rabbits, monkeys, dogs and birds which do not have any unique or special characteristics are the main focus of the movie. With the focus shifted, the film is sending a message that it is not a single hero that makes the victory possible, but it’s the work of ordinary people, the individual in the group of dedicated citizens’ participation and support that makes the war possible. This idea is clearly presented through many scenes throughout the film. For example, the film starts with scene where the rabbit is preparing the planes. If the film was about the supernatural hero, it wouldn’t have spent time on boring scene of preparation of mechanics.  The reason of showing “unnecessary” details are not because the film had too many tapes left to kill, but to bring importance in the act of preparing.

The war is not possible if there are no supports from the citizens of the country. The film “Momotaro’s sea eagle” amazingly fulfilled its purpose as a propaganda inflaming popular passion of Japanese citizen.