A Word or Two About Seppuku

Seppuku (sometimes also referred to as hara-kiri) is a form of Japanese ritual suicide. Throughout most of Japanese history, only samurai were allowed to commit seppuku. The first recorded seppuku was that of Minamoto no Yorimasa, a warrior and poet who committed suicide by slashing his stomach open with his sword after suffering defeat in battle. During the medieval period, samurai committed seppuku for several reasons, most commonly to avoid being captured after suffering a defeat (in the manner of Minamoto no Yorimasa), as a penalty for shameful or criminal activity, or to expunge the shame of surviving a battle in which

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