How to do hara-kiri correctly

Harakiri, or seppuku, is a very complex ritual, during which samurai demonstrated their courage in the face of pain and death and the purity of their thoughts before gods and people. This ritual execution was elevated to the rank of art by the Japanese. And so how to do hara-kiri correctly:

The first thing to do is find an assistant (kaysyaku or kaysyakunin). Contrary to popular belief, technically, hara-kiri is not suicide in the truest sense of the word, but self-inflicted fatal bodily harm. Kaysyakunin actually kills. If the bakufu (shogun's government) ordered seppuku to be performed, an official assistant was appointed. In other cases, it was necessary to ask for help from a close friend or from a person who wielded a sword sufficiently to kill with one blow. If a friend declines to act as a kaisyakunin on the grounds that he does not have sufficient sword control, he can be asked to do so again. The friend must agree, since now all the errors that he can make will be forgiven him.

The ideal place for the seppuku ritual is a garden or a Buddhist temple (Shinto temples are not suitable for this purpose, since they cannot be defiled with murder). The performer of hara-kiri should be dressed in white clothes, symbolizing purity of intent. He should sit in the seiza position (the traditional Japanese way of kneeling). A servant brings a wooden table with a cup of sake, sheets of traditional Japanese paper "washi" made from mulberry bark. Also on the table are writing utensils and a kozuka knife. Also, as a knife, you can use a tanto - a dagger without a hilt, wrapped in several sheets of paper so that you can hold it by the blade. A samurai can use his wakizashi sword.

In some cases, for example, when a person is too young or too dangerous for others, a fan is placed instead of a knife.

The cup is filled with sake by one of the assistants participating in the ritual. The cup is filled with the left hand, which in other circumstances is considered unforgivable rudeness. The hara-kiri performer drinks the sake in two doses, taking two sips each time. If you drink sake at one time, it will be a sign of greed, and if it is three or more, it will be a sign of indecision. In total, four sips are taken. The word "four" in Japanese is consonant with the word "death".

Then you need to write a farewell verse in the waka genre (in the first and fourth lines, five syllables, in the second, third and fifth lines, seven syllables, five lines in total). Vaka should be graceful, natural, something about the transience of our being. In no case should the fact of impending death be mentioned. Asano, whose seppuku provoked the famous incident called The Forty-Seven Ronin, is said to have written a particularly bad farewell poem, showing the immaturity and weakness of character which, in a sense, was the reason he was ordered to commit seppuku.

At this moment, the performer of hara-kiri throws off his outer clothing (kamishimo) and tuck his sleeves under his knees, while trying to prevent the clothing from falling sharply on one side. He then takes the kozuka knife in one hand, lifting the sanbo table with the other and placing it under his buttocks. At the same time, the body leans forward slightly, taking the correct position.

If the person committing hara-kiri is so young or so dangerous that the knife was replaced with a fan, the kaisyakunin strikes with a sword kirioroshi - a vertical blow from top to bottom, as soon as the person touches his belly with the fan. If hara-kiri is performed with a knife, then the kaisyakunin will wait until the person plunges the knife blade deep into the left side of the abdomen, and then draws the blade to the right with a sharp upward cut at the end.

The samurai who finds the strength can then plunge the blade into the groin and cut upward towards the chest, ending with a horizontal cut under the ribs. However, the kaisyakunin must keep a close eye on what is happening and strike with the sword at the first sign of pain or indecision.

Kaisyakunin must strike so that the head is not completely cut off, but remains connected to the body with a piece of skin in the throat area. It is necessary to strike accurately, otherwise it will be disrespectful to the person committing hara-kiri. With a weak blow, a person can begin to move, spraying blood. It is especially unacceptable to hit the jaw with a katana, as did Kaisyakunin Yukio Mishima in 1970. As noted above, minor mistakes in the final blow technique can be forgiven if the kaisyakunin agreed to his role out of friendship.

After the end of the ritual, all knives and swords used in hara-kiri are discarded, since they are considered tainted by death.

It may also be noted that some of the bully killed themselves in a ritual known as juumonji giri. This is exactly the same ritual as seppuku, except that there is no kaisyakunin. After making the incisions, the person sits quietly for about half an hour and bleeds out. The last person to do juumonji giri was General Noji, who did it as a junshi (committing suicide out of loyalty) after the death of Emperor Meiji in 1912. He not only performed jumonji giri, but also managed to button up his white naval jacket after that.

The reasons for committing seppuku were junshi (suicide of the faithful - although this reason was discouraged by the government because it took too many lives), fuksi (suicide in protest), kanshi (as a reproach to his master for his behavior) to atone for shameful actions or to avoid captivity in battle. Under such circumstances, there was usually no time to carry out the ritual in full, so they often ended their lives by cutting their throats.