Database for Animation Studies


Momotaro, Sacred Sailors : A Review of an Experimental Animated Film on National Policy

This article endeavors to assess and validate Momotaro, Sacred Sailors, an experimental propaganda film created in 1945. The authors analyze the text of the film, focusing primarily on the techniques of pre-scoring and penetrating light and the clever amalgamation of the genres of shadow-picture animation, musical cinema, and the documentary style. Also examined is the writer-director's adoption of the style of storytelling employed by narrative films to deliver the national policy message of Japanese victory. Momotarō, At the same time, the authors argue the possibility that Momotarō, Sacred Sailors contains a genuine representation of death in a manner never before undertaken by Japanese animation. On the basis of their appraisal, the authors suggest that the film is ambivalent: it propagates war but simultaneously serves to question a war that justifies murder. The authors further assert that Mitsuyo Seo created the film by exploiting advertising abilities developed from his time working with The Proletarian Film League of Japan where he first experimented with animation. In its final analysis, the Momotarō, Sacred Sailors signifies a seminal moment in Japanese film history and remains significant to contemporary scholarship.

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『桃太郎 海の神兵』論―国策アニメーションの映像実験
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