Hero, Common people and Justification of Behavior

Momotaro as leader ordering the troops for an attack

Both Momotaro Sea Eagle and Minamata: The Victims and their World incorporates old folk tale of Momotaro. Though Momotaro Sea Eagle shows the images of animals described in the folk tale, what both films actually adopted is Japanese people’s perception of the original folk tale. The framework and its morals are transmitted by the director, Tsuchimoto Noriaki and Mitsuyo Seo, as the foundation of the films. The adaptation of old folk tale’s basis and morals became justification of the actions performed in the films further bestowed the identity of hero to the leader and the groups.   First, both films contain the reminiscences which set up the immediate connection between the films and the original folk tale. For example, the idea of journey to the demon island is employed in both movies. Although there are no distinct sign or explanation of Minamata villager’s journey to Osaka is equivalent to Momotaro’s Journey, it is possible for the audiences to relate the idea through small details provided by the film. In Momotaro Sea Eagle , it is even more easier for audiences to correlate the film and the original folk tale with direct representation of Momotaro and the animals as soldiers of Japanese army. With these stimulus that connects the audiences’ mind to the original folk tale through the films, the story becomes more acceptable.  Furthermore, the implications of original folk tale allow the underlying messages of the films to be voiced without direct proclaims.


Support from the common people for heroes from Minamata village

Asking for support from common people




The heroic qualities of characters make synchronization of the folk tale and the films. First of all, there is a leader of heroes in both films. A leader, however, is not the main focus, but fulfills the important role of decision-maker. Although there are no mythical hero like Momotaro in the folk tale, senior male in Minamata: The Victims and their World and Momotaro in Momotaro Sea Eagle ignite the beginning of the journey of the heroes. There are several heroic aspects which can be found through the groups of heroes in the films. A notion that heroes do not act for sake of their merit, but to help innocent people. Both films present this notion of heroic quality before the journey begins. In Minamata: The Victims and their World , the villagers proclaim that they are rising for sake of people who suffers and will be suffering if the problem does not resolve.    Another heroic characteristic that both films highlight is the supportive attitude of common people. A hero cannot be defined as “good” without acknowledgement and support of people. Though the heroes help powerless common people, without support of people they cannot exist. Once again, both films present the relationship between the heroes and supporters. The heroes in Momotaro Sea Eagle  are supported by the group of mechanics which can be identified as non-military personnel, the commoners. In fact, the film focuses on the bond between soldiers and mechanics more than a leader. In Minamata: The Victims and their World , the other village inviting villages of Minamata to reception, the farewell of villagers at the train station before the heroes depart to the journey, and even the donation of people in the city represent the strong recognition and support towards heroes of Minamata



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