Having re-read this post, it sounds to me that I have written something that just comes across like a badly composed Film Studies essay.
Not really, it just seems to be the same regurgitated "look how bad those Orientals' inferior culture really is!" propaganda circulated for the past 100 years or so. It could've easily come directly from a "professional" film review. (Although the attempt to link modern Japanese "pop culture" to the propaganda staple of "evil traditional Confucianism" is pretty comical.)
Nonetheless, thanks for the review, as if it's remotely accurate I'll know to forever avoid this film.
I'd much rather that you disregard what I wrote, watch the film yourself and then come back here to post your own thoughts about it.
However, I cannot let your comment about my comment about 'evil traditional Confucianism' pass without comment. On a personal level, that arose from observing my (Japanese) wife being bullied by her (Japanese) boss and therefore some familiarity with sarariman no bunka
which is informed, in my view, by a warped version of the Neo-Confucianism that also influenced the conduct of the Japanese military in WW2 as extensively chronicled by Brian Daizen Victoria in his book Zen War Stories
I hadn't realized up until now that Victoria was a comic writer rather than a respected author and commentator operating from within the Soto Zen tradition. Also, it hadn't dawned on me that my wife's experiences of her own culture and experiencing first hand the sometimes crushing social and familial obligations that are part and parcel of being born Japanese were also to be disregarded. Thank you for helping to enlighten me in this regard. This online article
has also helped to shape my thoughts. Obviously though, it's one of those many online articles of dubious academic worth.
Then there's Donald Richie's introduction to the Criterion edition of Harakiri
to consider in which he points out that Masaki Kobayashi traces the origins of the Japanese militaristic perspective back to the beginnings of the Tokugawa Shogunate in this movie, a Shogunate that was undoubtedly operating under the influence of a perverted Confucian ethos. But then Richie has only been living in the country since 1947 and that is hardly long enough for a gaijin to gain any insight into the Japanese mind and heart.
In closing, I should just add that I myself have lived in Japan and travelled within the country extensively, am a huge fan of Japanese culture (especially the literature and poetry of the Heian period), and have taught Japanese and Chinese Philosophy for about 20 years.
Of course, all of this experience and extensive study has now been disqualified by your post which has flagged up an obviously ingrained Orientalism and in turn nullified my vain attempt to draw this Forum's attention to a possibly overlooked classic of modern Japanese cinema. And there is also obviously no ongoing connection whatsoever between the influence that forms of Confucianism have historically exerted in prior Japanese history and anything that could possibly be happening with modern Japanese youth. I shall therefore now withdraw from this thread and hand it over to others who - like yourself - are obviously much better positioned to write about such matters.