Jan 20, 2019
As far as the 'animation' goes, this 30-minute film is about on par with anything else you might run across from the 1920's. And pretty much should be passed by, if that's what you are after. Since this is a silent film about a speech, fully half the film is interstitial text cards, not exactly exciting.
But if you are serious observer of Japanese history, then this film is a treasure trove -- a window into some of the views that shaped a growing nation. Shinpei Goto was a career politician that had cut his teeth on modernizing the
railway and occupied Taiwan, and then later Home Minister and Governor of Tokyo, but as Japan was transitioning from the Taishou Era to the Showa Era, Goto's long life was approaching an end.
This film is an animated version of what he considered one of his most important speeches of his life, the "Ethicization of Japan", intended to reach a wider (and younger) audience. The topics discusses cover a broad range, from Japan's relation in the world, to internal politics, political corruption, universal suffrage and even scouting (which was one of his lifelong projects). But there was an overarching theme throughout - about how the Japanese people needed to become more involved if the nation was to grow and thrive, and drive out the corruption that was endemic inside the government.
One of the most interesting parts in the middle involves how this populist politician viewed Japan's relations with other nations. You can see the germination of the growing ideas of Japanese nationalism and expansion, as it saw growth as an absolute necessity. Interesting to view with hindsight, but a bit chilling to see it put so bluntly in the pre-war years.
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