1930’s wartime Japanese cartoon 1930’s wartime Japanese cartoon

David Gerstein and Cole Johnson found this delightfully primitive 1934 Japanese cartoon about a war in 1936(?). Clearly inspired by Hollywood cartoons of the era, one can read plenty into the fact that the brave Japanese warriors are doing battle with a “mickey mouse” army. Says Gerstein:

Maybe it’s a “Nutcracker Suite”-inspired thing? Dunno if the “Nutcracker” was known in Japan in the 1930s, and this uses pre-”Nutcracker” classical themes, but it does have a mouse kingdom trying to take over a toyland-like world. What’s great, though, is that the mice are obvious Mickey clones, and at about 1:45 a cat lead briefly mutates into Felix. The music over the main and end titles sounds like it belongs with a 1930 Terrytoon or Van Beuren, doesn’t it?

If anyone can translate the title or tell us more about the film’s plot, we are eager to learn.

Jerry Beck

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