How did the War Propaganda Attracted Young Viewers

Momotaro’s Sea Eagle is a war propaganda which focuses on promoting the participation of Japanese citizens, and also creating the collective consciousness under the nationalistic motif. With the basic synopsis of old folk tale, director Seo created a film that inflames Japanese citizens’ participation through highlighting people who supports the army in the background of the war. The question is how did the film actually dramatized the idea of nationalism to not just an ordinary audiences, but to the young viewers? In order to make film deliver the national ideology effectively, director Seo constructs systematic steps of arousing the interest, relieving the worries before emphasizing on the ideal of nationalism. The film attracts the young viewer’s attention with likable images of characters and comical scenes, then it reduces the intensity of violence of war in order to ease viewer’s mind in order to effectively dramatize the system of national ideology to young viewers.

First of all, film arouses the young viewers’ interest with friendly and charming characters such as rabbit, dog, monkey and bird. Representing the soldiers with images of cute animals is a effective way to bring young viewers than showing the actually soldiers. With the charming characters, the film is now treated as if it is ordinary animation which eases the tension of war propaganda and attracts more viewers to watch the film. Another important factor of  Momotaro’s Sea Eagle is the comical scenes. If the cute images of characters catch the attention of the viewers, the comical scenes in the film grasp on the young viewer’s concentration. There is no purpose in war propaganda if the viewer does not finish watching the film. Especially for the young viewers who are easily distracted, the propaganda film cannot be monotonous. Thus, the film incorporates comical interesting scenes for the young viewers to stay focus until the final ending. For instance, instead of simply having the torpedoes attack the American ships, there are scenes where the monkey sits on the torpedo or swim with the arms spinning like a machine; although these type of silly representation of important battle between Japan and United States might not be suitable for an official propaganda, the scenes fulfills the role in the Momotaro’s Sea Eagle.

Monkey riding a torpedo

After the cute characters and funny scenes attract the young viewers, the reduced intensity of violence within the film relieves the viewers anxiety about the war. To decrease possible violence, director seo constructs a battle scene where no characters are being attacked, but only the ships are destroyed by the torpedo. If there were strong degree of violence in the film for instance, it is possible for the young viewers to resist towards the dangerous idea of war. However, the softened tone of war sets young viewers’ mind at ease and avoid possible backlash towards the propaganda of war. Furthermore, the indirect violence on characters servers another purpose of reassuring the viewers that the Japanese soldiers will be okay. For example, the scene where the monkey returns while the crews are being worried is implication that the soldiers will also return from the battle. Though this is not a true in many real cases, at least before the war was over, the film gives hope to those who are in great concerns. By giving relief and reassurance about the war to the young viewers, the film establishes the audiences’ mindset to truly accept the idea of nationalism.  Though Momotaro’s Sea Eagle is a war propaganda, it does not forcefully persuades the audiences. In stead, the film constructs an environment through each steps within the film that naturally prepare the young viewers to accept the idea that the film delivers.


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