Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Samurai Seppuku Honor through Death

During the age of the Samurai of Nippon, an extremely painful form of ritual suicide was developed-Seppuku.  Seppuku was most often used to maintain or regain honor or in the case of obligatory suppuku, a form of capital punishment.  Seppuku (often referred to as "Haha-Kiri" outside of Japan) at its core involved the samurai slicing open his abdomen in a left to right stroke with the his short sword, the Wakizashi.  Then an assistant would then decapitate the samurai with a single stroke from
 a katana sword.  The victims bravery would be admired, his honor intact and his name spoken with respect.

The full ritual was very involved and would include a display platform, special clothing,  an audience of witnesses, a death poem written by the samurai and display of the dead man head.   The ritual is thought to have begun in the 12th century and has been practiced by some traditionalist as late a the last decades of the 20th century.

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