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||The General Knowledge of Japan 12
||Hanko & Kanji House
|___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
to "have stomach", meaning
he is a man of definite principles.
___In feudal times warriors used to respect
the abdomen because it was considered
be the receptacle of the spirit, so
they assumed responsibility as warriors
some action or course of conduct and
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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