Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Acronyms, Wikipedia.


(här`ə-kēr`ē, hăr`ə–) [Jap.,=belly-cutting], the traditional Japanese form of honorable suicide, also known by its Chinese equivalent, seppuku. It was practiced by the Japanese feudal warrior class in order to avoid falling into enemy hands. Around 1500, it became a privileged alternative to execution, granted to daimyodaimyo
[Jap.,=great name], the great feudal landholders of Japan, the territorial barons as distinguished from the kuge, or court nobles. Great tax-free estates were built up from the 8th cent.
..... Click the link for more information.
 and samuraisamurai
, knights of feudal Japan, retainers of the daimyo. This aristocratic warrior class arose during the 12th-century wars between the Taira and Minamoto clans and was consolidated in the Tokugawa period.
..... Click the link for more information.
 guilty of disloyalty to the emperor. The condemned man received a jeweled dagger from the emperor. He selected as his second a faithful friend, received official witnesses, and plunged the dagger into the left side of his abdomen, drew it across to the right, and made a slight cut upward; his second then beheaded him with one stroke of a sword, and the dagger was returned to the emperor. Around 1700, it became permissible to go through a semblance of disembowelment prior to beheading. Voluntary hara-kiri was resorted to after a private misfortune, out of loyalty to a dead master, or to protest the conduct of a living superior.

Obligatory hara-kiri was abolished in 1868, but its voluntary form has persisted. It was performed by 40 military men in 1895 as a protest against the return of conquered territory, the Liaotung peninsula, to China; by General NogiNogi, Maresuke
, 1849–1912, Japanese general. Made a lieutenant general in 1895, he became governor-general of Taiwan. He was the hero of the capture of Port Arthur in the Russo-Japanese War and was honored as a model of loyalty when he committed hara-kiri to follow the
..... Click the link for more information.
 on the death of Emperor Meiji in 1912; and by numerous soldiers as an alternative to surrender in World War II. Hara-kiri was much discussed in recent years in connection with the death, in 1970, of MishimaMishima, Yukio
, 1925–70, Japanese author, b. Tokyo. His original name was Kimitake Hiraoka and he was born into a samurai family. Mishima wrote novels, short stories, essays, and plays. He appeared on stage in some of his plays as well as directing and starring in films.
..... Click the link for more information.
, the well-known novelist and rightist political leader.

See bushidobushido
[Jap.,=way of the warrior], code of honor and conduct of the Japanese nobility. Of ancient origin, it grew out of the old feudal bond that required unwavering loyalty on the part of the vassal. It borrowed heavily from Zen Buddhism and Confucianism.
..... Click the link for more information.
, kamikazekamikaze
[Jap.,=divine wind], the typhoon that destroyed Kublai Khan's fleet, foiling his invasion of Japan in 1281. In World War II the term was used for a Japanese suicide air force composed of fliers who crashed their bomb-laden planes into their targets, usually ships.
..... Click the link for more information.
, suicidesuicide
[Lat.,=self-killing], the deliberate taking of one's own life. Suicide may be compulsory, prescribed by custom or enjoined by the authorities, usually as an alternative to death at the hands of others, or it may be committed for personal motives.
..... Click the link for more information.


For detailed accounts of hara-kiri, see A. B. F. Redesdale, Tales of Old Japan (1919).



(also, seppuku), Japanese ritual suicide by disembowelment, practiced during the feudal era and later. A custom among samurai, this form of suicide was handed down as a judicial sentence or committed voluntarily, for example, in cases in which the samurai’s honor was violated or as a sign of loyalty to the samurai’s overlord.


, hari-kari
(formerly, in Japan) ritual suicide by disembowelment with a sword when disgraced or under sentence of death
References in periodicals archive ?
In Japan, it is the corporate equivalent of hara-kiri.
Before we discuss exactly how dramatically the purist tennis lover will commit hara-kiri over the mutated format, let's take a quick gander at it.
If the decision to withdraw support from the UPA government in 2009 was little short of a political hara-kiri for the CPM, then throwing in its weight behind Mukherjee as the next president of India is the other side of the coin - politics of opportunism and a desperate bid to keep the door ajar for UPA 3, should that happen in the summer of 2014.
In different circumstances, the appropriate solution would be hara-kiri (Japanese ritual suicide).
Craven Cottage is a jinx ground of recent times, but that isn't a good enough reason to commit hara-kiri en masse.
But there's experimentation and there's HQ hara-kiri.
At least the failed leaders in Scotland gamely committed political hara-kiri.
Islamabad, Sep 24 (ANI): Pakistan's top legal and constitutional experts see the government's move to confront the Supreme Court orders regarding writing a letter to the Swiss authorities in view of money-laundering cases, as an attempt to commit hara-kiri, saying that only the apex court has the final say in interpreting any clause of the Constitution.
If this beast gets turned over, it's 13-8 yours truly commits hara-kiri.
He told Blair to come out of the conference centre and "commit hara-kiri in front of the world".
Boom Boom Afridi had turned into a swish, rattle and roll hara-kiri expert.
In contrast to the above, the latest manifestation of Cypriot political hara-kiri is ex-Finance and Interior Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou's vicious attack on DISY Chairman Nicos Anastasiades.