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Hara-kiri

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Hara-kiri (also called seppuku) is a ritual and honorable suicide with Japanese origins. Traditionally, it is done in a spiritually clean temple by cutting open one's abdomen with a wakizashi, thereby releasing the soul. The traditional form is one deep cut down and one across. A slightly less honorable version (and much less painful) is that at the same time, a friend (called kaizoe[?] or kaizoe-nin[?]) severs the head for an instant death.

Hara-kiri was traditionally used as the ultimate protest when one's own morals stood in the way of executing an order from the master. It was also permissible as a form of repentance when one had committed an unforgivable sin, either by accident or on purpose.

In Japanese, hara kiri (腹切り) is a slang term -- literally, "belly slashing". The formal term for honorable suicide, which should be used unless one is deliberately trying to be insulting, is seppuku (disembowelment) (切腹).

See Kamikaze



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