hara-kiri

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hara-kiri

(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.
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 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.
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 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
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 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.
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, 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.
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, 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.
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, 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.
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.

Bibliography

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

Hara-Kiri

 

(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.

hara-kiri

, hari-kari
(formerly, in Japan) ritual suicide by disembowelment with a sword when disgraced or under sentence of death
References in periodicals archive ?
Auster's decision to publish early work in the context of a latter-day rumination is brilliant and brave: the gesture, a sort of literary hari-kari, an act of renunciation and self-sabotage performed in public, involves a successful author brandishing evidence that might easily be used against him by critics who wish to indict him as aesthetically worthless and fraudulent.
What you see is a joking visualization of the term hari-kari (pronounced 'harey carry'), the common English corruption of the Japanese harakiri, meaning suicide by disembowelment.
Just a few days after shipping four goals at Brighton, Blues commit defensive hari-kari and leak four more at Ipswich to lose 4-2.
To concede so many penalties to Wilkinson was akin to committing rugby hari-kari.
HARI-KARI ON: Rooney consoles Nakazawa after Japan's second og, left, Lampard's penalty is saved, top, Joe Cole celebrates the equaliser with Lennon and Tanaka parties with skipper Hasebe, right
First, we Geordies seemed ready to commit hari-kari when our beloved club once again went into meltdown, thanks to the Mike Ashley-Dennis Wise style of managership.
CHARLTON players committed hari-kari in front of their travelling army of fans to leave the club staring relegation in the face.
The truth is that to meet Kyoto's requirements would be to commit economic hari-kari.
However, both back lines seemed intent on committing hari-kari and Matthew Upson's injury-time error to hand Boro a fifth goal summed up Blues' defensive performance.
In placepotting logic, this is equivalent to travelling on a leaking boat in order to commit hari-kari at the destination.
At the first show of wrinkles, some glamour girls consider hari-kari, others feel like hanging out a "This Building is Condemned" sign.
But parity was short-lived as the Saints' defence committed hari-kari and another strong comeback failed to knock Dundalk off course.