Kaishakunin – the Seppuku “Wingman”

Seppuku is a form of ritual suicide practiced in Japan for hundreds of years. Many Westerners recognize the ritual, in which a person (often but not always male) slits his own stomach with a sword, thereby disemboweling himself and causing his own death. Seppuku has a long and complex history in Japan, and many associated rituals, among them the use of a second, the kaishakunin, whose primary role is easing the suffering and speeding the death of the person committing seppuku. The kaishakunin stands behind and to the left of the person committing seppuku (as shown in the staged photo

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