The incomplete Momotaro Sacred Sailor (II)
Momotaro: Sacred Sailors (桃太郎 海の神兵), released in 1945, is the first Japanese feature-length animated film. Commissioned by the Japanese Naval Ministry as a piece of WWII propaganda targeted at children, the film lacked details of war-time agony. Filling in on the film’s omissions, the artwork responds by highlighting Gillman Barracks as the site of the final battle between the British and Japanese forces.
Reflecting the losses suffered by The Loyal Regiment (2nd Battalion) that was based there, the installation consists of 180 containers bearing a military identity tag, each filled with 5 litres of black acrylic paint (media used in making the animated film) — approximating the amount of blood in an adult human’s body. A number of these avatars of the fallen are interned within the gallery and set against a children’s song extracted from the film, while the remaining spectres can be found wandering across the precinct.
The animated film is available on Youtube.
Material: glass jar, black acrylic paint, stainless steel military ID tags, black polyester string
Text by: John Tung
Screen grabs from 'The Momotaro Sacred Sailor'