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Seppuku-J M W Silver

Illustration from Sketches of Japanese Manners and Customs, by J. M. W. Silver, Illustrated by Native Drawings, Reproduced in Facsimile by Means of Chromolithography, London, 1867

Seppuku "stomach- or abdomen-cutting", is a form of Japanese ritual suicide by disembowelment. Seppuku was originally reserved for samurai. Part of the samurai bushido honour code, seppuku was used either voluntarily by samurai to die with honour rather than fall into the hands of their enemies (and likely suffer torture) or as a form of capital punishment for samurai who had committed serious offenses, or performed because they had brought shame to themselves. The ceremonial disembowelment, which is usually part of a more elaborate ritual and performed in front of spectators, consists of plunging a short blade, traditionally a tantō, into the abdomen and drawing the blade from left to right, slicing open the abdomen.

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