The Japanese People's Love/Hate Relationship with Themselves (in anime)
OK, since I didn't want to bump the "sounding bigoted" thread up and since this is really a new topic, here it is. I was thinking about this quote from Romey:
I have been thinking that he's really correct: both mentalities do exist, and therein lies arguably the root of most modern social conflict in Japanese society. Japan has tried to embrace useful portions of other cultures without losing their traditional cultural identity, but these forces are bound to come into conflict.
Anyway, to heck with generalizations
. Both mindsets may exist, either independently or in conjuction (to halves of the same coin) in reality, and I'm sure there are still others who couldn't care less.
I think this is one way of reading many Japanese works, such as Mononoke (just to make this anime-related) -- the conflict between powerful but ultimately deteriorating overt traditions ("gods") and the dominating forces of modernization. This would seem to suggest Miyazaki believes it's a losing battle for the traditionalists, but he also suggests in the end that the deer god will always live on "in spirit" as long as the flower continue to bloom. From this reading, then, Miyazaki thinks that the traditional Japanese culture will always be metapresent even if it seems to be falling back. If this is an intended theme, then I think it is a very wise point of view.
Sato's take is another comment on this conflict, as might be, to a lesser extent, films like Perfect Blue (which implies, most overtly in the symbol of the blood-spattered geisha mask, that Japanese women must violently break from traditional roles to find an identity true to themselves).
ABe, depending on whether you want to read into what he's worked on, seem play with both sides of the issue. Haibane Renmei can be said to be against and at points for the so-called group think ethic of Japan. Haibane could be viewed as a show about how those outside of the normal will get farther than anyone else (haibane can cross the wall, the humans can't), which is something ABe himself is perhaps proof of because he got into the anime industry through the comparitively underground and independent doujinshi industry rather than through a weekly like shonen jump. NieA could be seen as a commentary on racism and immigration in Japan without dealing with real groups and real conflicts. NieA also be considered a lement for the old ways with it's very traditional building designs, or as a pessimistic series about even when something amazing happens in Japan, nothing ever changes, down to the yellow buckets in the bathhouse. Even the music in NieA might be saying some thing. Some of the banjo pieces could have been koto, saying that sometimes two traditions aren't that different.
On the whole though, there is nothing necessarily directly commenting whether there is hate or love for so-called traditional japanese attitudes in his work, but if read as metaphor, they can speak volumes.