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Disembowelment

Disembowelment is evisceration, or the removing of vital organs, usually from the abdomen. The results are invariably fatal.

It has historically been used as a form of capital punishment. In England, the punishment of being "hanged, drawn, and quartered" referred to the practice of hanging a man from the neck (but not until dead), disemboweling him, and dividing the body into pieces. Women, for modesty's sake, were instead burned alive. (In France, the punishment of being "drawn" refers to being conveyed to the place of execution.)

In Japan, disembowelment also formed part of the method of execution of samurai. In killing themselves by this method, they were deemed to be free from the dishonor resulting from their crimes. The most common form of disembowelment was seppuku (referred to in slang as "hara-kiri"), involving two cuts across the stomach followed by beheading. The first cut was made laterally and the second vertically perpendicular to the first. Following the "two cuts" the samurai would be beheaded by someone he had selected for that task. Completing the cuts before being beheaded was taken as a sign of bravery.



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