noun \se-ˈpü-(ˌ)kü, ˈse-pə-ˌkü\

Definition of SEPPUKU

:  hara-kiri 1

Origin of SEPPUKU

First Known Use: 1871


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Japanese ritual suicide by disembowelment, practiced by members of the samurai class. Suicide by disembowelment was favoured because it was slow and painful and therefore demonstrated courage, self-control, and strong resolve. Voluntary seppuku was performed to avoid the dishonour of capture, show loyalty to one's lord by following him into death, protest against some policy of a superior, or atone for failure. Obligatory seppuku was a method of capital punishment for a samurai, who would be beheaded by a second once he had made an initial stab wound himself. Obligatory seppuku was abolished in 1873, but voluntary seppuku continued to occur. Notable 20th-century examples included those of army officer Nogi Maresuke and writer Yukio Mishima. See also bushido.

Variants of SEPPUKU

seppuku or hara-kiri


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