Seppuku

Monday, June 27, 2011

I know what you're thinking and no, it's not any manga series or anything related. You've probably seen this ritual in movies such as The Last Samurai or the film "Seppuku" (1962). Throughout history, we've learned that the Japanese people are VERY strict when it comes to family honor and honor for himself. Japanese and this ritual consisted on dieing with honor, so the enemy wouldn't capture them. Or when one commits a shameful act, he would perform seppuku.



Seppuku means "stomach cutting" in japanese and it was first considered as a ritual reserved for samurais only, because it became a key part of the bushido code. The ritual has been carried away to the 20th century but performed only by a few. It consists of slashing your abdomen from left to right with a tantō, a 15-30 cms knife, disemboweling your organs and then he would stretch his neck and a second person would behead him.

This is a ritual that has been carried out for almost a thousand years and it requires preparation. The samurai would bath, wear a white robe and then eat his favorite meal, then he'd write a death poem as preparation to the next life and at last, perform seppuku.

While this form of voluntary seppuku is the most appropriated one, there's also obligatory seppuku, which was the most common and was performed by samurais that had committed a serious crime.

Another form of seppuku which is more painful is called jūmonji giri and in this one there's no second person to behead the samurai, he dies of his wounds and loss of blood. It consists of making an horizontal cut and a second and more painful vertical cut to the abdomen, making a cross-like wound.

7 comments:

Aaron M. Gipson said...

An elegant tradition, but a gruesome way to die.

Jim said...

Not the best article to read when your eating, but a good history of a often misconstrued practice

Kingmush said...

It is an interesting ritual.

d0t said...

Its a shame that most of us in the west cannot understand this level of honor and commitment.

Supernova said...

Wow, I'd heard of seppuku but I wasn't sure how it was done. That's pretty harsh :/ The Japanese people don't play!

Rasenore said...

I feel really mixed about this. On one hand I understand how it's honourable and, to be fair, quite respectable. And then I remember that they're killing themselves like fools.

Lol.

Mr Jack House said...

Nothing but curious pleasures, as from thence Following!

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