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What Is Seppuku And Why Was It Popular In Samurai Tradition?

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Seppuku is a form of ritual suicide in Japanese Tradition sharply related with the ancient samurai warriors. Seppuku is also known as “Hara-kiri”, which is given by western people. Seppuku is usually performed by “Stabbing” or “Cutting” oneself in the ‘abdomen’ with a “short sword or Knife”, making “Ju-monji+”. Seppuku was common, culturally permitted act among the members of the samurai family in Japan for centuries until it was formally prohibited in 1873. The Traditional Seppuku is very rare in the twenty-first century, the broader concept of suicide remains deeply ingrained by present day in Japanese society but some forms of suicide associated to seppuku are still practiced.

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“Why Seppuku would come under Practice and how did it become popular among Samurai?”

Seppuku was practiced by a samurai as a way to achieve an honorable death, who did not die on the battlefield rather than tortured by enemies. Moreover, it also acts as a method of protest, on other hands it reveals the symbolic display of loyalty to a fallen leader, in addition to it-it, was a form of Death penalty or sentence to death for samurai who had attempted an unforgivable crime like- Fraud, murder, or any anti-religious theft. This reasons made Seppuku or Hara-kiri attractive towards samurai community in Japan due to which they started performing this event and adopted it as a ritual.

“Suicide of Saigo Takamori: Samurai, Seppuku and the politics of legend”

According to the studies, the Meiji Leader Saigo Takamori committed ritual suicide on September24, 1877. Saigo was the leader of a massive rebellion against the new national government of Japan, died on hills of Shiroyama in Kagoshima. His death was suffused with tragic irony: Saigo died fighting a government which he helped to create. Saigo was a main figure in the movement to overthrow the shogunate, and, after the Meiji Restoration in 1868, he becomes one of the three powerful men in Meiji state. But Saigo grew increasingly Divert from his colleague and resigned from government in 1873. In last year, during a period of tectonic cultural change, everyone celebrated him as a model of samurai virtue. In 1877, Saigo takes the command of rebellion formed from Impulsive followers and led an army of approx. 20,000 angry samurai from northeast towards Tokyo. These rebels started fighting through mountains of Kyushu and managed to fight with an Imperial army for another Five months.

Saigo’s death was a loud historical point, loaded with powerful, contradictory expectations. More than the death of a single person, his deadly end represented the death of the samurai class. Hence, the failure of Saigo’s rebellion.

“How did Saigo die?”

Heroes and Heroic Deaths: Because so many eyewitnesses died themselves in the Battle of Shiroyama, there are no surviving firsthand accounts. Saigo’s final moment and last words thus will remain a subject of fascination and speculation. Yet the surviving records are sufficient to arrive at a negative conclusion: Saigo did not cut his own abdomen (stomach), and it is unbelievable that he sat vertically in a formal suicide ritual. We can evaluate this through forensic evidence: Three independent accounts of Saigo’s Body. One is from the diary of Kawaguchi Takesada, He was an accountant with the Imperial Japanese Army, He wrote

When our troops approached from all sides and breached the rebel stronghold, all leaders of rebellions (Saigo Takamori, Kirino Toshiaki, etc.) were already dead. A summary follows:

Saigo Takamori: shot through the hip, head missing, later recovered.

Kirino Toshiaki: head and face ripped apart, many sword wounds.

Murata shinpachi, Beppu Shinsuke, Henmi Jurota, Ikegami Shiro, Takashiro Juji, Iwanmoto Heihachi,

Masasuke, Ishizuka Chosaemon, Gamo Hikojiro, katsura Shiro, Yamando Hikosuke, etc., a total of 106 people. All rebels were covered in red loincloths (fundoshi) and most were wearing [traditional] Japanese clothes. (Kawaguchi [1878]1988, 2:356-57).

Kawaguchi noted that Kirino had many sword wounds, but reported none for Saigo, besides the gunshot wound to the hip and his missing head.

A similar account is found in a letter by John Capen Hubbard, a ship captain, who providing noncombat military support for Mitsubishi. As the captain of a ship, He watched the last attack on the rebels from the deck of his ship and soon after that Battle, when all rebels were defeated, He arrived on the spot. In a letter to his wife, he describes Saigo’s dead body:

When we visited, we found eight bodies laid out in two rows. The first was Saigo. He was a large powerful looking man, his skin tones almost white, he was laying there naked as his clothing had been taken off. It was few seconds before I realized that Saigo’s head was cut off. Next to Saigo lay Kirino then Murata. Saigo’s was the only who’s body is headless, but other people’s head was dreadfully cut off, it might evident that after the death of their leader, they might kill each other.

“The story of the Loyal Samurai of Ako”

In the fourteenth year, starts in the third month, the person named Takumi –n0-Kami was appointed as host of Imperial wnoys in Edo. And Lord Kira Kozuke no Suke, Yoshihide already knew about this and, he was told to do his duty properly. Lord Takumi told him, how to do his duty. Someone Suggested Takumi that he should offer a present to Lord Kozuke no Suke, but he refused to do that. He thinks this as a matter of shame to consult with this other. He thought that giving a gift so soon was not so appropriate and he would gave the present after some meeting. So, He decided not to give Lord a gift. He was trying to offer a gift in order to make the lord happy. He shows his wiseness by not a present to the lord so early offering.

“The Trouble with Terasaka: The Forty-Seven Ronin and the Chushingura Imagination”

Many scholars claim that AKO had 47 Ronin, who first attack and killed the Kira in Edo in the last month of 1702, after 22 months, when there Lord was killed. Those who surrendered themselves to bekafu were executed Terasaka gave very costly things and material to the plays writers and novelists in the 18th Century, especially to the Tarasaku Heiemom in Kanadehon Chunshigura of 1748. In the 19th and 20th Century. Terasaku became a matter of controversy and debate because of his Qualification as a “Gushi”, And were there really Forty-Seven Ronin or Forty –Six Ronins this literary transformation of Tereaska and his position in history, arguing that only little position had made him a motivational source to “Chushingura Imagination” that he done to made AKO revenge’s story so eminent and also a controversial. It was clear that Terasaku’s empire or Critical that what actually happened after death of the Kira.

“Culturally sanctioned suicide: Euthanasia, seppuku, and terrorist martyrdom”

Suicide is one of the suo-activities in mad practices, with considerable efforts devoted to prevention. The imbalanced view of suicide tends to think of together it with depression or another form of mental illness. Somehow, various forms of suicide occur apart from mental illness and within the boundary of cultural sanctioning such that they aren’t considered as a suicide at all. Despite persistent taboos against suicide, mercy killing, physician-assisted suicide in the context of terminal illness is increasingly accepted as a way to preserve freedom and dignity in the west. Seppuku, the ancient ritual of samurai to commit suicide by self-stabbing, was considered an honorable act of self-resolve for a long period such that even though removal of cultural sanctioning, the rate of self-murder continue to high in Japan with suicide posture as seppuku still performed there and in foreign. Now a day, Suicide is popular with Islamic militants as an act of murder and terrorism, who remark it as martyrdom (torture) in the context of war. The absence of mental illness and the presence of culturally sanctioning do not mean that suicide should be prevented. Culturally sanctioned (allowed) suicide must be understood in terms of the specific motivation that influences the choice of death over life. Efforts to prohibit culturally approved suicide must be a spotlight on alternatives to attain similar goals and must ultimately be carried out within cultures to remove the sanctioning of self-destructive acts.

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