Momotaro’s Bushido

In Momotaro: Sea Eagle, it takes the folklore of Momotaro and transforms it into a WW2 propaganda film. The film keeps most aspects of the orignal folklore, like the millet dumplings, invasion of Demon Island, and the three animals that fight alongside Momotaro. An important aspect they kept were the demons being very weak compared to Momotaro’s forces. This is very important because the demons represent Japan’s enemy during WW2, America, and since it is a propaganda film some form of slander is expected. Now, the picture I chose as being the most important shot in the animated film is when Momotaro’s forces are almost done with their attack on Demon Island. In the middle of battle, right after climbing out of the ocean the leader of the demons immediately takes down is flag, shakes off the colors, and tries to surrender.

The demon commander abandons his countries colors to surrender

Now, the slander here seems quite obvious, a large man giving up his country’s colors to try and surrender; however, there is a hidden meaning underneath all of that. To understand the hidden meaning, we must try to have a similar mentaility as a Japanese civilian during WW2; and during that time a very influential idea was going around, bushido. During WW2, the basic idea of bushido was that it was utterly disgraceful to surrender and that it was better to commit suicide/fight to the last man in the name of the emperor. Now, with that in mind the shot I chose now contains another message, that the Americans had no honor and had no problem abandoning their country to live. This is why I believe this shot is the most important, because it not only delivers a simple message to children but a very propagandistic message to the older audience.

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