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Seppuku, Harakiri
___Seppuku means the ritual form of suicide that used to be practiced by members of the samurai class to show they accepted responsibility for their actions. It has its beginnings in the Heian Period, about one thousand years ago. In present-day Japan, of course, seppuku is not practiced either as a form of suicide or as a punishment.

___In Japan, a man who is respected as being a person of high moral character is said to "have stomach", meaning that he is a man of definite principles.

___In feudal times warriors used to respect the abdomen because it was considered to be the receptacle of the spirit, so when they assumed responsibility as warriors for some action or course of conduct and had to die, they would cut open their abdomen.

___In the Edo era seppuku became the mode of capital punishment for members of the samurai class. To allow the warrior to die by his own hand showed respect for his character and honor. To avoid mishaps occurring during the act of seppuku and to cut short needless suffering, another person would be standing by to cut off the head of the person as soon as he had cut open his abdomen.


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