Momotarō no Umiwashi

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Momotarō no Umiwashi
Directed by Mitsuyo Seo
Written by Mitsuyo Seo
Release date
  • March 25, 1943 (1943-03-25)
Running time
37 minutes
Country Japan
Language Japanese

Momotarō no Umiwashi (桃太郎の海鷲, literally Momotarō's Sea Eagles) is an animated Japanese propaganda film produced in 1942 by Geijutsu Eigasha and released March 25, 1943. Running at 37 minutes, it was close to being feature-length, but it was not the first animated feature film in Asia; that honor goes to China's 1941 Princess Iron Fan, which was 73 minutes long (see: List of animated feature films). A DVD version without English subtitles was released in Japan by Kinokuniya Shoten in 2004; one with subtitles was released in the United States by Zakka Films in 2009.[1]

Although recorded as being produced with the cooperation of the Japanese Naval Ministry, there was in fact no cooperation in order to protect military secrets, although the Japanese Imperial Navy endorsed the film.

Featuring the "Peach Boy" character of Japanese folklore, this film was aimed at children, telling the story of a naval unit consisting of the human Momotarō and several animal species representing the Far Eastern races fighting together for a common goal. In a dramatization of the attack on Pearl Harbor, this force attacks the demons at the island of Onigashima (representing the Americans and British demonized in Japanese propaganda), and the film also utilizes actual footage of the Pearl Harbor attack. A sequel, Momotarō Umi no Shinpei (1945) also exists. Running at 74 minutes, it is credited as being Japan's first feature-length animated film.


Bluto, from the Popeye cartoons being produced in America at the time, makes an appearance in this film as a stereotypical drunk. This is one of few examples of the Axis nations using American cartoon characters to portray the United States in animated films, just as the Allied forces used Hitler, Mussolini, and Hirohito, as well as Nazis and Japanese soldiers in their propaganda films.


  1. ^ "Home". ZakkaFilms. Retrieved 2012-11-01.

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