The Fine Art of Seppuku

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Seppuku is a Japanese suicide ritual. It is a “unique phenomenon only existing in Japan” (Li Jian-jun). “The word seppuku comes from the words setsu ‘to cut’ and fuku ‘abdomen’” (Kallie Szczepanski). This exquisite ritual was most common in the samurai, it gave the samurai an honorable death, and honor was the most important thing to a samurai. Samurai means “one who serves” and his main duty was to give faithful service to his feudal lord (Kallie Szczepanski). Seppuku is a stylized and strict ritualized practice of suicide and has been a form of suicide for centuries. It has also been a popular theme in Japan’s literature and theatre for years (Toyomasa Fuse). Seppuku is a great honor; the honor was reserved for only the samurai, even in…show more content…
The samurai were mercenaries that were hired to serve in battle for a lord. The samurai were paid in rice and grain; the samurai are very big on maintaining honor and doing everything within their power to please their lords. For the samurai, the ultimate expression of personal honor was to die voluntarily, by one’s own hand (Traditional Japan). That kind of personal honor was gained through the ritual of seppuku. Another common reason for committing seppuku was to show ones disagreement with the lord. Seppuku is viewed as an honorable punishment; any other “commoner” would have been executed. It truly is amazing how seppuku lasted so long, it is considered one of the most gruesome rituals ever to be seen. The French captured some Japanese soldiers and opposed to surrendering, the Japanese soldiers requested that the French allow them to commit seppuku, “The French found the spectacle so horrible to watch they made their prisoners stop” (Jeffrey Hays). Japanese history is full of cases of seppuku, seppuku was considered as a grace. “With the final unification and pacifying of Japan under Tokugawa Ieyaso, 1543-1616, and the establishment of the Tokugawa Shogunate, seppuku was no longer officially supported” (Dieter Wanczura), but, the practice still continued to exist nevertheless. “The latest known case is from 1970, when Yukio Mishima, committed suicide in a seppuku manner. This act caused
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