Between the Animals Lay Hints of Nationalism

Momotaro’s Sea Eagles in the course of about an hour effectively dramatizes a system of national ideology for Japan’s young viewers. Through the use of a cartoon the Japanese government is able to instill a sense of solidarity, pride but most importantly nationalism amongst a younger generation thus molding them through political propaganda. Although on the surface Momotaro’s Sea Eagles is seen lightly as a kids’ feature film, the subliminal messages turn the animation into much more at a subconscious level for a younger audience.

What initially allows for a younger audience to connect to such a nationalistic ideal is the medium that Momotaro’s Sea Eagles uses. The animation of the movie allows for kids to regard it as a simple kids’ show without any predispositions. From there the use of animals with such unrealistic body shapes and humanistic movements gives the movie a surrealistic feeling to it. Kids do not question the abilities of the animals because of the fact that it’s a cartoon, and likewise the lack of gore despite the explosions and cartoonish violence allows for kids to watch the show impassively.

With the premise that kids can connect to the movie, it is easy for the Japanese government to slip in nationalistic symbols and actions in order to slowly subvert the younger generation’s minds. The bandanas worn by the various animals carry Japan’s flag, showing a sense of nationalism. The dog then struggling to put on the bandanna in a “correct” fashion implies that the flag should be worn with pride and is something that should be respected, further reflecting Japan’s nationalistic goals.

The use of Momotaro himself plays a giant role in further influencing young viewers. By using a traditional folktale, one that is tied so closely to Japan’s history, kids will naturally connect actions made by the characters with Japan creating nationalistic pride. The animals at various parts come out uniformly and orderly representing not only representing ranks of military, but also a clean efficiency. The animals despite their cartoon animation are depicted professionally because of their actions, which is contrasted with those of the “Oni” of “Oni Island”, references to America and Pearl Harbor, who when under attack are uncoordinated and distraught. At one point a character very similar to Bluto, an American cartoon character, throws off the colors from his seemingly American flag representing how there is no pride in America. These “Oni” come off as drunk and weak with their abundant use of alcohol and how easily they are defeated.

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The Japanese symbol is found on the bandanas, representing solidarity and nationalism.

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Celebrating after accomplishing their mission.

Overall, Momotaro’s Sea Eagles are depicted as a magnanimous and professional force to be reckoned with, a depiction that also represents a view on Japan that is supposed to be spread over a younger audience. The animation provides the perception that there is honor found in being apart of the Japanese military as shown in how the animals celebrate at the end and that Japan is righteous in their actions.

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