Culture and Society

Why and how would a samurai warrior commit suicide?
Answered by Discovery Channel
  • Discovery Channel

    Discovery Channel

  1. Honor was of utmost importance to the samurai. If they in any way failed to protect their master, family or community, they were expected to restore honor by committing a ritualized form of suicide known as seppuku. The samurai would wear his traditional samurai clothing and be presented with a ritual knife wrapped in paper. He was expected to slice open his stomach from left to right, and then upward. A second samurai, the Kashaku-nin, would stand behind him and behead him immediately afterward. In the early years of the samurai, the beheading would occur only after the seppuku was completed. Later on, the Kashaku-nin would perform the beheading as soon as the samurai touched the ritual knife so as to spare him the pain of the disembowelment.

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