The Effect of Cuteness and Coolness in Animation

 

In Momotaro’s Sea Eagle, the Momotaro folklore is animated, and not only the original story of Momotaro is told but also the propaganda of Pearl Harbor is depicted in the film. In this time period, Japan was establishing the new system of national ideology which was the Japanese Empire that has the Emperor as a symbol of the nation. Militarism was the first priority of the country politically and economically, and militarism and fighting for the Emperor was honorable and encouraged. In Momotaro’s Sea Eagle, the Momotaro folklore dramatizes this system of national ideology for young viewers by using smiling adorable animal characters. Using these characters of round faces and big smiles made the film easy for the Japanese youths to watch and to fix the idea of the system.

Animating Momotaro folklore was successful to dramatize the system of national ideology for young viewers by using cuteness of animal characters. In the animated version of the Momotaro folklore Momotar’s Sea Eagle, animals are drawn as Japanese soldiers and work hard. They always have a smile on their face and seem like enjoying what they are doing. These animals have round faces and lovely smiles whole time in the film. For the Japanese children back then, this animation would have been entertaining with these cute characters, and would also have planted the idea of the system of national ideology of the country. The children unconsciously gained the idea of system that Japanese populations are grateful to fight for their country, and since Momotaro is depicted as the Japanese Emperor figure, who directs animals and only remains on the ship in the film, animals have loyalty and follow his orders.  It is obvious who has a hierarchal power on the ship. Not only physical features of animals gave intimacy to the young viewers but also their actions and movements attracted the viewers. In the scene where rabbits are cheering other animals fighting, they jump around with hand movements and have a big smile on their face, and their long ears are blown in the wind and moving around their face. These movements and physical features of roundness and cuteness made successful for the Momotaro animation to effectively dramatize the system of national ideology for the Japanese youth.

Rabbits with a big smile on their face

 

Drawing military technologies in the film also helped to affect the young viewers to fix the idea of the system of national ideology of Japan. By using the animal characters, the film shows how big military role was in Japan, and fighting for the Emperor is ideal and honorable. Military technologies are also shown and coolness of militarism is depicted effectively and it encourages the young viewers to see military as modern and sophisticated. By drawing the military and its technologies, the young viewers unconsciously and intentionally became familiar with the system of the militarism national ideology, and this was a strategy of the government to educate the Japanese youth nationalism.

Battle planes as a military technology

The animation of Momotaro’s Sea Eagle dramatizes the system of the Japanese national ideology. It is not so deviant from the original Momotaro’s folklore but contains some strategies to educate the viewers. Lovely animal characters make the war story entertaining and different from bloody and cruel reality. The imperial system of Japanese Empire as a national identity is dramatized with cuteness of animals, and militarism, part of the national identity, is drawn with coolness of modern military technologies. With these features, the animated Momotaro was effectively dramatized the system of the Japanese national ideology and educated the Japanese youth to maintain nationalism.

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