Honorable death (Seppuku- Harakiri)

  • Samurai committed the ritualistic suicide, seppuku, in situations when they are taken as a hostage, failed to demonstrate strength, failed to follow the code of the samurai or had to improve the status of their family or clan.
  • It is stated that ”In the world of the warrior, seppuku was a deed of bravery that was admirable in a samurai who knew he was defeated, disgraced, or mortally wounded. It meant that he could end his days with his transgressions wiped away and with his reputation not merely intact but actually enhanced. The cutting of the abdomen released the samurai’s spirit in the most dramatic fashion, but it was an extremely painful and unpleasant way to die, and sometimes the samurai who was performing the act asked a loyal comrade to cut off his head at the moment of agony.” Usually when someone does seppuku, it becomes very painful after the first incision, that is why there is always another samurai (kaishakunin) chopping the head.
  • The person who is doing seppuku wears a white kimono first. Then he is given time to write his death poem and offered his favorite meal. In the last plate he is given a dagger, chokuto or a short sword tanto. He wraps half of the dagger with fabric and starts the incision. Meanwhile there would be a samurai (kaishakuin) standing behind to chop the head after a short moment because the incision would be too painful to continue. The samurai chop the head by leaving some skin so that the head does not fly away and just softy drops in to the space between the two hands of the samurai as if he is holding his head. The samurai used to cut their belly because they belied the mind and spirit were in the belly not in the brain.

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