I feel like the "why didn't they just leave" argument is a bit pointless. It's like asking why the people who live in Florida don't just leave so they don't have to worry about hurricanes and such? Well probably because they had no where else to go or no way to do it. These families had also been in that area for a very long time and it's hard to leave that tradition and culture, especially during the time when the village was still thriving.
It can be a pointless question unless you are feeling creative and want to invent a reason for it. ^^ Add some folklore of your own to the origins of their relationship to the deities etc, as I suggested with a royal decree.
Your idea that they had no where else to go is probably most accurate, however. :3
Besides, they weren't just fearful of a bad harvest or calamity, but genuinely worshipped these deities. I don't want to get into religion, but it has a very strong hold over those who faithfully believe in it and that's a hard bond to break even when they're fearful of the worst. This is why certain cultures persist, though their ways are unorthodox or harmful to others and themselves.
I actually didn't think of it on that angle, the they genuinely worshipped these deities. It's a very good point and one that shifts my perspective of the blame game a bit. Is also the sort of thing I was looking for with that comment (why didn't they leave).
Kamikaze pilots didn't want to fly their planes into Allied boats but they were loyal to their country. Suicide bombers really believe what they are doing is right. When a whole population is going along with something it's very hard to go against them.
Also true and makes me think that, after getting passed the horror of some terrorist's actions, the answer for how they can do what they do is really very simple human social mechanics. It's this kind of thought that leads me to have only a materialistic perspective on reality (think of how brain damage or drugs and medication can change somebody to such s high degree).
And in good conscious I can't blame Yae because Itsuki did encourage her, but Yae suffered a sort of karmic "that's what you get" when she ended up at Himuro Mansion and met pretty much the same fate as Sae (they were both hanged)... Though it is her cowardice that technically caused the ritual to fail, which technically can be considered Ryokan's fault because he didn't raise her with the courage to "do her duty". I know nature will have played a part in it, but i'm a firm believer of nurture having the biggest influence over the growth of a person. I kind of have to as a psychologist. Otherwise I'd have to accept that some people are just evil and wicked and we can't help them. I'd have to believe that Hitler was the devil incarnate, and not that his rejection from art school and his following fascination with the military and power is what created such a monster.
I don't think yae's fate lessens her fault in the disaster at all. Her fate was irrelevant to her decision to flee that day.
I also disagree with her father being at fault for not raising her properly for the simple fact that he never once seemed to question the necessity of the ritual, making it seem unlikely that he would have been lax in informing her off her duty.
I don't believe reality operates according to our concept of morality - of right and wrong - and agree that evil people do not exist in that context. I do believe that people are born in all sorts of ways, making it more easy for some to be led by circumstances in their lives to do horrible things. Where the boundaries lie between nature vs nurture, human morality and physical (think brain construct) inevitably are all questions portrayed in the film confessions which is why it interests me so highly.
I also want to know, how exactly do we as humans assign blame? Responsibility and so forth?