Mar 16, 2011

Momotaro's Child Soldiers

Momotaro's Sea Eagles's, a feature length propagandistic animation was intended to explain the events of Pearl Harbor to the Japanese youth of the 1940's. In posterity, the animation speaks to an intersection between child rights and warfare, an issue addressed in the United Nation's Millenium Development Goals. Momotaro's Sea Eagles sheds light on a historical instance of the involvement of children in warfare through propaganda. By modern definition, the rights of a child are violated by propagandistic education- every child has a right to free and fair education. Momotaro's Sea Eagles would have been villified by today's international community.

One aspect of Momotaro's Sea Eagles in particular that strikes an uncomfortable note is the childlike features and nature of the soldiers. Though anthropomorphic, the soldiers are distinctly featured to suggest their youth. They are energetic, playful and undisciplined, while maintaining a total dedication to their task. The juxtaposition of these aspects highlight an underlying desire of the Japanese army to have children identifying with the heroes of this animation, while instilling in them a "pornified" concept of warfare. It is sobering to realize that these are the same tactics employed today by leaders who militarize children.


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