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Suicide in the Japanese tradition

As we already wrote, the death – a special category in Japan. In the history of Japan, it is not always perceived as something terrible, and as a matter of course. Moreover, in most cases, death was seen as a way out of the situation shameful, degrading. Not surprisingly, the seppuku ritual – ritual suicide – seemed to the Europeans who came to Japan in the Meiji period, something wild and barbaric.

However, in European history there are many cases where people commit suicide out of a sense of shame. Another thing is that in the West it is something extreme and not taken for granted, as in Japan.

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In the Meiji period, cases of seppuku was significantly less than in the preceding Edo period. This is because in the old days samurai and samurai women committed seppuku by order from above. This ritual suicide was considered an honor and also a symbol of sincere devotion to the Lord.

Ritual seppuku came to Japan probably from the Northern Ainu tribes that were assimilated by the Japanese over time. Tradition stomach open did not emerge just like that. It was believed that the lower abdomen of a man is a soul, and ripping their stomach, the samurai reveals his true intentions, which differently was impossible to Express.

Originally committed seppuku with a bamboo knife, which was later replaced by tanto – special knife for such purposes. In the Meiji period seppuku if they did, it is much more humane than in the old days. Sentenced to seppuku did only a small incision the abdomen as evidence that he decided to take his own life. Stood behind kaishaku-NIN – the assistant who was supposed to be beheaded. Actually extremely seppuku’s more like a beheading than sparivanii belly. Himself seppuku-ning, so to speak, was to be dressed in a white kimono.

In General the color white in many cultures – the symbol of the transition to another position or condition, and the sign of death.

However, seppuku committed in the 1912 General nogi and Marasca his wife was not harakiri in the strict sense of the word, because there is a version that the General and his wife had cut his throat (See. Louis Frederick. Everyday life in Japan in the Meiji period). It is believed that the couple did this as a sign of care behind the dead Emperor Matsuhito, who rules in the Meiji period. However, there is evidence that in the suicide note, the General nogi reports that the reason for his suicide was his desire to redeem himself, when during the war of 1877 in Kyushu has allowed the enemy to raise the flag that he carried. Ever since he had the idea of suicide. And had waited many years for the death of the Emperor, to pay his debt.

Men committed seppuku, and women ripped open his throat. To describe the case when female samurai committed suicide, I will allow myself to go beyond the Meiji period.

One of the most striking examples of this kind of suicide leads Francis Crowns (1600 – 1673 years), apparently the Spaniard is a Jesuit. The mighty ruler of the province Higa is famous organizoval the murder of his faithful vassal, to take possession of his beautiful wife. The woman asked me to give her some time to mourn and bury her husband, and invited the ruler to collect on the upper platform of the castle of his high-ranking clan members and friends of her husband ostensibly to celebrate the end of the period of mourning. On the appointed day, when the ceremony in honor of the dead husband was coming to the end she suddenly threw herself from the tower and broke SEB’s neck in front of the Governor of Hyogo, his vassals and high-ranking members of the clan. This type of suicide, although not consistent with the rules of the ritual was recognized as one of the most effective forms of protest against the injustice of the master.

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