Momotaro: Monkeys and Nationalism

In Momotaro’s Sea Eagle, we see a crucial scene about thirty-five minutes into the film.


Momotaro commends his crew on their bravery for attacking Demon Island.

We see the monkeys at attendance in front of Momotaro after attacking Demon Island. Even though the film is in black and white, in this scene we see the lighting get darker. The dark shades of gray and black in the background set a more serious tone. We also notice that the monkeys seen in the scene have rather serious faces unlike in other scenes of the film. If we pay close attention we can also see the monkey’s shadows which only contribute to the somber mood of the scene. In this particular scene we hear Momotaro state the he is very proud of their bravery and the success of the attack. This scene is crucial to the overall meaning of the film because it boosts that sense of nationalism that was Mitsuyo Seo’s overall purpose. By emphasizing the pride that Momotaro feels in his crew, this sense of national pride is reflected to the viewers of the film. Not only does this scene reflect nationalism, it also reflects other traits such as teamwork and dedication and what can result from these traits if they are reflected in all individuals. In other words, Seo seems to convey through this one scene the immense importance of working together to build a sense of national pride. This scene is the best affirmation of Seo’s attempt to instill this sense of nationalism during the war torn time period to all who viewed it.


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