Post Reply Japanese collectivism in anime
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Posted 7/1/17
Right now, I have a much better reason to enjoy anime than during the late 90's and early 2000's, where anime were blatantly Westernized and thus treated as "edgy" and "cool", which to me would have been synonymous with "Western individualism".

You know how, in almost every anime ever made, the main-protagonist would gather a slew of companions by his or her side, whether it's a shonen fight protagonist, a majo shoujo protagonist, a mecha protagonist, or a super sentai? In my opinion, it's all a perfect representation of what Japanese culture is all about: The group, whether it's a small family or a large community.

For example, Kamille Bidan from Zeta Gundam might have had his improbable piloting skills and the titular Zeta Gundam. But even then, he was just one out of millions of mobile suit pilots within the A.E.U.G. and Karaba organizations, all working together to usurp the Titans and liberate Earth and its space colonies from them. Likewise, Usagi had the other sailor senshi, Luffy had his Straw Hat Pirates, Naruto had his classmates, Col. Roy Mustang had his five soldiers, etc.

In other words, for something that had Western culture force-fed into them to reinforce their "edginess", anime can be such a perfect representation of Japanese culture in-terms of its emphasis on the group, rather than the individual like Western culture.

What's your opinion on it, and why?
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Posted 7/1/17
Reach much? It's because those people are such individuals that they gather comrades, if those characters were not there the story would not happen. It is because these characters are different than the collective that gives us the story. Is there that much of a difference (story wise) between The Straw Hat Pirates and "We few, we happy few. We Band of Brothers." And what story illustrates the bonds of family as strongly as The Sackett Brand?
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Posted 7/1/17
Are you talking about the anime plot where the lead character are not overpowered or where the lead character can only accomplish his goal with the support of many others?
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Posted 7/1/17

Commander_PonyShep wrote:

Right now, I have a much better reason to enjoy anime than during the late 90's and early 2000's, where anime were blatantly Westernized and thus treated as "edgy" and "cool", which to me would have been synonymous with "Western individualism".

You know how, in almost every anime ever made, the main-protagonist would gather a slew of companions by his or her side, whether it's a shonen fight protagonist, a majo shoujo protagonist, a mecha protagonist, or a super sentai? In my opinion, it's all a perfect representation of what Japanese culture is all about: The group, whether it's a small family or a large community.

For example, Kamille Bidan from Zeta Gundam might have had his improbable piloting skills and the titular Zeta Gundam. But even then, he was just one out of millions of mobile suit pilots within the A.E.U.G. and Karaba organizations, all working together to usurp the Titans and liberate Earth and its space colonies from them. Likewise, Usagi had the other sailor senshi, Luffy had his Straw Hat Pirates, Naruto had his classmates, Col. Roy Mustang had his five soldiers, etc.

In other words, for something that had Western culture force-fed into them to reinforce their "edginess", anime can be such a perfect representation of Japanese culture in-terms of its emphasis on the group, rather than the individual like Western culture.

What's your opinion on it, and why?


No offense...but the plot of a hero gathering many companions to go on a journey, whether it's One Piece, Sailor Moon or a regular animated series is a tale as old as time itself.
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Posted 7/1/17 , edited 7/4/17

Nogara-san wrote:


Commander_PonyShep wrote:

Right now, I have a much better reason to enjoy anime than during the late 90's and early 2000's, where anime were blatantly Westernized and thus treated as "edgy" and "cool", which to me would have been synonymous with "Western individualism".

You know how, in almost every anime ever made, the main-protagonist would gather a slew of companions by his or her side, whether it's a shonen fight protagonist, a majo shoujo protagonist, a mecha protagonist, or a super sentai? In my opinion, it's all a perfect representation of what Japanese culture is all about: The group, whether it's a small family or a large community.

For example, Kamille Bidan from Zeta Gundam might have had his improbable piloting skills and the titular Zeta Gundam. But even then, he was just one out of millions of mobile suit pilots within the A.E.U.G. and Karaba organizations, all working together to usurp the Titans and liberate Earth and its space colonies from them. Likewise, Usagi had the other sailor senshi, Luffy had his Straw Hat Pirates, Naruto had his classmates, Col. Roy Mustang had his five soldiers, etc.

In other words, for something that had Western culture force-fed into them to reinforce their "edginess", anime can be such a perfect representation of Japanese culture in-terms of its emphasis on the group, rather than the individual like Western culture.

What's your opinion on it, and why?


No offense...but the plot of a hero gathering many companions to go on a journey, whether it's One Piece, Sailor Moon or a regular animated series is a tale as old as time itself.


^ This. While Campbell's "monomyth" isn't as universal as the theory says, there are more than enough examples in Japanese stories (e.g. Momotaro) and in other Asian stories that are popular in Japan (e.g. Journey to the West), that go with the countless Western examples.

Also..... waaaaaaay too complex a topic for a thread on a forum like this, even if we were to stop making generalizations about "all" anime. Anime is a lot more diverse than people give it credit for.

And every culture has examples of both. e.g. the Justice League, and the Avengers, and how Saban didn't need to take the team element out in order to sell Power Rangers to Americans. Harry Potter has about as many friends with him as Naruto does. And LOTR, obviously.
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Posted 7/1/17
It is interesting, though, almost, if not all, the anime I have ever watched they have gathered companions.
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Posted 7/1/17
It depends though. If you're going to refer to shonen or something w/adventure, then the Campbell reference that Lavender used would work.

But a journey could be different in many ways too; for example, like trying to tell someone that you like them.
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Posted 7/1/17 , edited 7/1/17
I think the frequent use of the word "selfish" when describing one's own modest wishes seems to reflect collectivism, but other than that I don't really see anything in anime that screams "collectivist world-view"
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Posted 7/2/17 , edited 7/2/17
The most serious existential threat to the Straw Hat pirates is the World Government, an institution that roots its legitimacy in and justifies its actions by appeals to preservation of order and justice throughout the world. To that end the World Government insists that all nations, and all people within those nations, are to consider themselves subordinates whose interests and aspirations are absolutely secondary. Based upon the glimpses into the values, worldview, and behaviour of its innermost circle given to us through the events at Mariejois, Water 7, Enies Lobby, Impel Down, Ohara, and Tequila Wolf we know that the World Government in fact represents an incredibly extreme, deeply corrupted, fundamentally unjust, and brutally authoritarian variety of collectivism that only really serves to benefit the ruling class, but the rhetoric and structure that ruling class has constructed is rooted in collectivism nevertheless.

The Straw Hats, by comparison, act as free agents concerned principally with their own interests and aspirations. The crew takes a very lackadaisical approach to their common goal of finding the One Piece, instead being perfectly content to wander off track in pursuit of some individual crew member's agenda. There's a sense of camaraderie rooted in their friendship, sure, but no one among the Straw Hats feels or is encouraged to feel subordinate to the crew as a collective institution. In fact, Luffy specifically balks at the idea of expanding his forces into an armada because doing so would impose structure and collective responsibility where he wants to be free of both. The Straw Hats' outlook is, from what I see of it, distinctly individualist.
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Posted 7/3/17

BlueOni wrote:

The most serious existential threat to the Straw Hat pirates is the World Government, an institution that roots its legitimacy in and justifies its actions by appeals to preservation of order and justice throughout the world. To that end the World Government insists that all nations, and all people within those nations, are to consider themselves subordinates whose interests and aspirations are absolutely secondary. Based upon the glimpses into the values, worldview, and behaviour of its innermost circle given to us through the events at Mariejois, Water 7, Enies Lobby, Impel Down, Ohara, and Tequila Wolf we know that the World Government in fact represents an incredibly extreme, deeply corrupted, fundamentally unjust, and brutally authoritarian variety of collectivism that only really serves to benefit the ruling class, but the rhetoric and structure that ruling class has constructed is rooted in collectivism nevertheless.

The Straw Hats, by comparison, act as free agents concerned principally with their own interests and aspirations. The crew takes a very lackadaisical approach to their common goal of finding the One Piece, instead being perfectly content to wander off track in pursuit of some individual crew member's agenda. There's a sense of camaraderie rooted in their friendship, sure, but no one among the Straw Hats feels or is encouraged to feel subordinate to the crew as a collective institution. In fact, Luffy specifically balks at the idea of expanding his forces into an armada because doing so would impose structure and collective responsibility where he wants to be free of both. The Straw Hats' outlook is, from what I see of it, distinctly individualist.


That is not the actually difference between collectivism and individualism; it more accurately reflect the paranoia misconception from the Western Capitalists, especially the Libertarians, when they associate their lawless Crony Capitalist monopolist system with lawful Socialist system. You are describing a difference between a strict individualist culture, where a authority have power without restrain from the law nor subordinates, and a loose collectivist culture, where members of a group support each other but have lax hierarchical structure and loose obligation. If I could use a metaphor with the Rewrite anime, then the summoner would be strict individualist, the monster would be the individualist`s misunderstanding of strict collectivist, and the superhuman would be the loose collectivist.

By the way, it is interesting how the neo-liberal capitalists engage in contradiction with respect to this faulty misconception. In the third world, the neo-liberal capitalists oppose law enforcement from the governments against the illegal activities of transnational corporate but they then setup puppet governments who rob from the lawful civilian and support the illegal activities of rich foreign business. They antagonize the government and claim that all givernment officers are corrupted but they then conduct shady backdoor activities to support corrupt government officers who have power over the law and who are only restrained by rich business elites. They claim that governments should not intervene in foreign trade and they establish "NGOs" (non-government organization), like NAFTA and IMF, to supposedly enforce free trade but they then use those NGOs to enforce totalitarian control over international trade. When forced to explain their contradiction, the libertarians evade their own individual responsibility by associating the libertarians' own retarded system to socialism.
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Posted 7/3/17 , edited 7/3/17

In other words, for something that had Western culture force-fed into them to reinforce their "edginess", anime can be such a perfect representation of Japanese culture in-terms of its emphasis on the group, rather than the individual like Western culture.


Sans Japanese schooling which practically attempts to rank your individual social standing in life.
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Posted 7/3/17 , edited 7/3/17

sinoakayumi wrote:

That is not the actually difference between collectivism and individualism; it more accurately reflect the paranoia misconception from the Western Capitalists, especially the Libertarians, when they associate their lawless Crony Capitalist monopolist system with lawful Socialist system.

You are describing a difference between a strict individualist culture, where a authority have power without restrain from the law nor subordinates, and a loose collectivist culture, where members of a group support each other but have lax hierarchical structure and loose obligation.


The World Government stresses both the importance of interdependence between all nations and their citizenry on the one hand and the importance of maintaining a social, economic, and political hierarchy on the other. It is, therefore, a vertically collectivist social structure. Your "loose collectivist" society would, given its stress on interdependence and equality on the one hand and rejection of sociopolitical and socioeconomic hierarchy on the other, be horizontally collectivist.

The "strictness" or "looseness" you're referencing, meanwhile, gets at an entirely different facet of the two societies: whether or not they're authoritarian. The World Government, as you note, exercises its authority without any appreciable constraints, making it an authoritarian system. Your "loose" collectivist society, by contrast, presumably possesses such constraints and so would not be authoritarian.


If I could use a metaphor with the Rewrite anime, then the summoner would be strict individualist, the monster would be the individualist`s misunderstanding of strict collectivist, and the superhuman would be the loose collectivist.


I've never seen Rewrite, so I can't attest to the accuracy or inaccuracy of this analogy.


By the way, it is interesting how the neo-liberal capitalists engage in contradiction with respect to this faulty misconception. In the third world, the neo-liberal capitalists oppose law enforcement from the governments against the illegal activities of transnational corporate but they then setup puppet governments who rob from the lawful civilian and support the illegal activities of rich foreign business. They antagonize the government and claim that all givernment officers are corrupted but they then conduct shady backdoor activities to support corrupt government officers who have power over the law and who are only restrained by rich business elites. They claim that governments should not intervene in foreign trade and they establish "NGOs" (non-government organization), like NAFTA and IMF, to supposedly enforce free trade but they then use those NGOs to enforce totalitarian control over international trade. When forced to explain their contradiction, the libertarians evade their own individual responsibility by associating the libertarians' own retarded system to socialism.


I am not a neoliberal capitalist or a right-wing libertarian, and I have done no such thing. In fact, if I were asked to characterise the World Government I'd say it was quasi-Fascist, not Socialist.
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Posted 7/3/17 , edited 7/3/17
Political talk? In our Anime Forums?
It's more likely than you think.

Honestly, I gave up this political rabble in General and took refuge in the Anime section. I don't want the entire forums to be infected by rancor.
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Posted 7/3/17

PeripheralVisionary wrote:

Political talk? In our Anime Forums?
It's more likely than you think.

Honestly, I gave up this political rabble in General and took refuge in the Anime section. I don't want the entire forums to be infected by rancor.


Sorry. I'm done.
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Posted 7/4/17

BlueOni wrote:


sinoakayumi wrote:

That is not the actually difference between collectivism and individualism; it more accurately reflect the paranoia misconception from the Western Capitalists, especially the Libertarians, when they associate their lawless Crony Capitalist monopolist system with lawful Socialist system.

You are describing a difference between a strict individualist culture, where a authority have power without restrain from the law nor subordinates, and a loose collectivist culture, where members of a group support each other but have lax hierarchical structure and loose obligation.


The World Government stresses both the importance of interdependence between all nations and their citizenry on the one hand and the importance of maintaining a social, economic, and political hierarchy on the other. It is, therefore, a vertically collectivist social structure. Your "loose collectivist" society would, given its stress on interdependence and equality on the one hand and rejection of sociopolitical and socioeconomic hierarchy on the other, be horizontally collectivist.

The "strictness" or "looseness" you're referencing, meanwhile, gets at an entirely different facet of the two societies: whether or not they're authoritarian. The World Government, as you note, exercises its authority without any appreciable constraints, making it an authoritarian system. Your "loose" collectivist society, by contrast, presumably possesses such constraints and so would not be authoritarian.


I want to make comments on this aspect of your post to clarify some misconceptions. Your conception of collectivism in this post is relatively accurate compared to your previous post but I want to provide some clarification on your previous post. Collectivist society do not, to some extent, distinguish between group interest and individual interest; the interdependancy of collectivism means that benefit to one individual will also benefit another individual. Your first post stress the conflict of interests which is an aspect of individualism.
An example of collectivism is the Capitalist system in theory where an individual benefit only when they: 1) cooperate with one or more other party, 2) provide mutual benefit to all parties who cooperate, and 3) avoid external costs to another party unless the self-benefit outweigh the punishment, which is presumed to be as severe as the external cost, from the affected party.

In an authoritarian system, there is can be restrainment by law, ideology, or some institutional means; there is only no restrainment by a person as an individual. The other part of your post is reasonable.
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