Depending on the severity of the crime, all or part of the property of the condemned could be confiscated, and the family would be punished by being stripped of rank, sold into long-term servitude, or execution. Seppuku was considered the most honorable capital punishment apportioned to samurai. Zanshu and Sarashikubi decapitation followed by a display of the head, was considered harsher, and reserved for samurai who committed greater crimes. The harshest punishments, usually involving death by torturous methods like kamayude death by boiling, were reserved for commoner offenders. European witness edit The first recorded time a european saw formal seppuku was the " sakai incident " of 1868. On February 15, eleven French sailors of the dupleix entered a japanese town called sakai without official permission.
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18 Terminology edit The word jigai means "suicide" in Japanese. The usual modern word for suicide is jisatsu. Related words include jiketsu jijin and jijin. 19 In some popular western texts, such as martial arts magazines, the feasibility term is associated with suicide of samurai wives. 4 The term was introduced into English by lafcadio hearn in his Japan: An Attempt at Interpretation, 5 an understanding which has since been translated into japanese and hearn seen through Japanese eyes. 7 Mostow's context is analysis of giacomo puccini 's Madame butterfly and the original cio-cio san story by john Luther Long. Though both Long's story and Puccini's opera predate hearn's use of the term jigai, the term has been used in relation to western japonisme which is the influence of Japanese culture on the western arts. 20 As capital punishment edit ōishi yoshio was sentenced to commit seppuku in 1703 While the voluntary seppuku described above is the best known form, in practice the most common form of seppuku was obligatory seppuku, used as a form of capital punishment for disgraced. The samurai were generally told of their offense in full and given a set time to commit seppuku, usually before sunset on a given day. On occasion, if the sentenced individuals were uncooperative or outright refused to end their own lives, it was not unheard of for them to be restrained and the seppuku carried out by an executioner, or for the actual execution to be carried out instead. Unlike voluntary seppuku, seppuku carried out as capital punishment did not necessarily absolve, or pardon, the offender's family of the crime.
Citation needed history edit Stephen. Turnbull provides extensive evidence for the practice of female ritual suicide, notably of samurai wives, in pre-modern Japan. One of the largest mass suicides was the final defeat of taira no tomomori establishing Minamoto power. 13 clarification needed The wife of Onodera junai, one of the forty-seven Ronin, is a notable example of a wife following by suicide the seppuku of a samurai husband. 15 A large number of honor suicides marked the defeat of the aizu clan in the boshin War of 1869, leading into the meiji era. For example, in the family of saigō Tanomo, who survived, a total of twenty-two female honor suicides are recorded among one extended family. 16 Religious and social context edit voluntary death by drowning was a common form of ritual or honour suicide. The religious context of thirty-three jōdo Shinshū adherents at the funeral of Abbot Jitsunyo in 1525 was faith in Amida and belief in afterlife in the pure land, but male seppuku did not have thesis a specifically religious context. 17 by way of contrast, the religious beliefs of Hosokawa Gracia, the Christian wife of daimyō Hosokawa yūsai, prevented her from committing suicide.
A samurai performing jumonji giri was expected to bear his suffering quietly reviews until he bleeds to death, list passing away with his hands over his face. 12 Female ritual suicide edit The wife of Onodera junai, one of the forty-seven Ronin, prepares for her suicide; note the legs tied together, a feature of female seppuku to ensure a decent posture in death Female ritual suicide (incorrectly referred to in some English. 13 14 Some women belonging to samurai families committed suicide by cutting the arteries of the neck with one stroke, using a knife such as a tantō or kaiken. The main purpose was to achieve a quick and certain death in order to avoid capture. Before committing suicide, a woman would often tie her knees together so her body would be found in a dignified pose, despite the convulsions of death. Invading armies would often enter homes to find the lady of the house seated alone, facing away from the door. On approaching her, they would find that she had ended her life long before they reached her.
It was said that it was best to cut leaving a little skin remaining so that it did not fly off in the direction of the verifying officials. A specialized form of seppuku in feudal times was known as kanshi "remonstration death/death of understanding in which a retainer would commit suicide in protest of a lord's decision. The retainer would make one deep, horizontal cut into his abdomen, then quickly bandage the wound. After this, the person would then appear before his lord, give a speech in which he announced the protest of the lord's action, then reveal his mortal wound. This is not to be confused with funshi indignation death which is any suicide made to state dissatisfaction or protest. A fictional variation of kanshi was the act of kagebara "shadow belly in Japanese theater, in which the protagonist, at the end of the play, would announce to the audience that he had committed an act similar to kanshi, a predetermined slash to the belly. Citation needed some samurai chose to perform a considerably more taxing form of seppuku known as jūmonji giri "cross-shaped cut in which there is no kaishakunin to put a quick end to the samurai's suffering. It involves a second and more painful vertical cut on the belly.
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Usually dakikubi would occur as soon as the life dagger was plunged into the abdomen. The process became so highly ritualised that as soon as the samurai reached for all his blade the kaishakunin would strike. Eventually even the blade became unnecessary and the samurai could reach for something symbolic like a fan and this would trigger the killing stroke from his second. The fan was likely used when the samurai was too old to use the blade or in situations where it was too dangerous to give him a weapon. 11 This elaborate ritual evolved after seppuku had ceased being mainly a battlefield or wartime practice and became a para-judicial institution. The second was usually, but not always, a friend.
If a defeated warrior had fought honourably and well, an opponent who wanted to salute his bravery would volunteer to act as his second. In the hagakure, yamamoto Tsunetomo wrote: From ages past it has been considered an ill-omen by samurai to be requested as kaishaku. The reason for this is that one gains no fame even if the job is well done. Further, if one should blunder, it becomes a lifetime disgrace. In the practice of past times, there were instances when the head flew off.
He would be dressed in the shini-shōzoku, a completely white kimono worn for death. 9 General akashi gidayu preparing to carry out Seppuku after losing a battle for his master in 1582. He had just written his death poem, which is also visible in the upper right corner. By tsukioka yoshitoshi around 1890. With his selected kaishakunin standing by, he would open his kimono (robe take up his tantō (knife) or wakizashi (short sword)—which the samurai held by the blade with a portion of cloth wrapped around so that it would not cut his hand and cause him. Prior to this, he would probably consume an important ceremonial drink of sake.
He would also give his attendant a cup meant for sake. 10 The kaishakunin would then perform kaishaku, a cut in which the warrior was partially decapitated. The maneuver should be done in the manners of dakikubi (lit. "embraced head in which way a slight band of flesh is left attaching the head to the body, so that it can be hung in front as if embraced. Because of the precision necessary for such a maneuver, the second was a skilled swordsman. The principal and the kaishakunin agreed in advance when the latter was to make his cut.
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A tantō prepared for seppuku the practice wasn't standardised until the 17th Century. In the 12th and 13th centuries, such as with the seppuku of Minamoto no yorimasa, the practice of a kaishakunin (idiomatically, his "second had not yet emerged, thus the rite was considered far more painful. Seppuku's defining characteristic was plunging either the tachi (longsword wakizashi (shortsword) or Tanto (knife) into parts the gut and slicing the abdomen horizontally. In the absence of a kaishakunin, the samurai would then remove the blade, and stab himself in the throat, or fall (from a standing position) with the blade positioned against his heart. During the Edo period (16001867 carrying out seppuku came to involve a detailed ritual. This was usually performed in front of spectators if it was a planned seppuku, not one performed on a battlefield. A samurai was bathed, dressed in white robes, and served his favorite foods for a last meal. When he had finished, the knife and cloth business were placed on another sanbo and given to the warrior. Dressed ceremonially, with his sword placed in front of him and sometimes seated on special clothes, the warrior would prepare for death by writing a death poem.
This way the head could, both metaphorically and literally, rest in its owner's hands. Those who did not belong to the samurai caste were never ordered or expected to carry out seppuku. Samurai generally could carry out the act only with permission. Sometimes a daimyō was called upon to perform seppuku as the basis of a peace agreement. This weakened the defeated clan so that resistance effectively ceased. Toyotomi hideyoshi used an enemy's suicide in this way on several occasions, the most dramatic of which effectively ended a dynasty of daimyōs. When the Hōjō were defeated at Odawara in 1590, hideyoshi insisted on the suicide of the retired daimyō Hōjō Ujimasa, and the exile of his son Ujinao ; with this act of suicide, pollution the most powerful daimyō family in eastern Japan was put.
has since been translated into japanese. Mostow notes that hearn misunderstood the term jigai to be the female equivalent of seppuku. 7 overview edit Illustration from sketches of Japanese manners and Customs,. Silver, Illustrated by native drawings, reproduced in Facsimile by means of Chromolithography, london, 1867 The first recorded act of seppuku was performed by minamoto no yorimasa during the battle of Uji in the year 1180. 8 Seppuku was used by warriors to avoid falling into enemy hands, and to attenuate shame and avoid possible torture. Citation needed samurai could also be ordered by their daimyō ( feudal lords) to carry out seppuku. Later, disgraced warriors were sometimes allowed to carry out seppuku rather than be executed in the normal manner. The most common form of seppuku for men was composed of the cutting of the abdomen, and when the samurai was finished, he stretched out his neck for an assistant to sever his spinal cord by cutting halfway into the neck. Since the main point of the act was to restore or protect one's honor as a warrior, the condemned should not be decapitated completely; instead left with a small part of the throat or neck still attached.
Sino-japanese roots setsu to cut from, middle Chinese tset ) and puku belly from mc pjuwk ). It is also known as harakiri "cutting the Stomach 2 a term more widely familiar outside japan, clarification needed and which is written with the same kanji as Seppuku, but in reverse order with an okurigana. In Japanese, the more formal seppuku, a chinese on'yomi reading, is typically used in writing, while harakiri, a native kun'yomi reading, is used in speech. Ross notes, It is commonly pointed out that hara-kiri is a vulgarism, but this is a misunderstanding. Hara-kiri is a japanese reading or Kun-yomi of the characters; revelation as it became customary to prefer Chinese readings in official announcements, only the term seppuku was ever used in writing. So hara-kiri is a spoken term, but only to commoners and seppuku a written term, but spoken amongst higher classes for the same act. 3 The practice of performing seppuku at the death of one's master, known as oibara ( or, the kun'yomi or Japanese reading) or tsuifuku the on'yomi or Chinese reading follows a similar ritual. The word jigai means "suicide" in Japanese. The modern word for suicide is jisatsu.
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"Harakiri" and "Hara-kiri" redirect here. For other uses, see. Seppuku with ritual attire and second (staged). Seppuku "cutting the belly sometimes referred to as harakiri "abdomen/belly cutting a native japanese kun reading is a form of Japanese ritual suicide by disembowelment. It was originally reserved for samurai, but was also practiced by other Japanese people later on to restore honor for themselves or for their family. A samurai practice, seppuku was used either voluntarily by samurai to die with honor rather than fall into the hands of their enemies (and likely suffer torture ) or as a form of capital punishment for samurai who had committed serious offenses, or performed because. The ceremonial disembowelment, which is usually part of a more elaborate ritual and performed in front of spectators, consists of plunging a short blade, traditionally a tantō, into the abdomen and drawing the blade from left to right, slicing the abdomen open. 1, if the cut is performed deeply enough it can sever the descending aorta, causing massive blood loss inside the abdomen, which results in a rapid death by exsanguination. Contents, etymology edit, online samurai about to perform seppuku, the term "seppuku" is derived from the two.