Am I simply projecting my own feelings and tastes here, or does anyone else see any of these similarities?
I think you are, as you seem to be making these general statements for all sectors of audio design, (equipment, speakers, etc), and to a limited extent your opinions seem to be fairly correct, but there are several glaring exceptions to your views, such as:
Koetsu cartridges (Japanese) - Very few cartridges are as lush in the mid-range as they are, (so in no way can the be considered:
"very stark sounding, very little warmth, even strident sounding for many years"
(In much the same way, Wavac amplifiers, also from Japan, could hardly be called the stark sounding either, IMHO anyway.)
Another example is that I have never considered Focal speakers (from France) to sound very romantic sounding either, (at least not like the Sonus Faber speakers do, (which is one instance that I do happen to agree with your opinion).
My opinion is that in a general sort of way you are somewhat correct, but to make sweeping generalities of this kind is not really on the mark, IMHO.
My two cents worth anyway.