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A question for Stan about Seppuku

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A question for Stan about Seppuku

Postby Tounian » Fri Jan 16, 2004 11:19 +0000

Stan... I was watching a program about Samurai warriors, and when they described suicides, they said that the warrior committing the act used his knife. I'm guessing they used their Tanto, and when they had a second, did he use his katana? I'm just curious as to how exactly the ritual was performed. Thanks!
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Postby Stan Sakai » Fri Jan 16, 2004 15:52 +0000

I believe they did use their tanto or wakazashi. I have read that the katana was also used, with part of the blade wrapped with paper where the samurai would hold it. Their second would use a katana.

Samurai women would tie their thighs together to preserve their modesty when they fall, then use a knife to their throats.
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Postby Tounian » Fri Jan 16, 2004 18:31 +0000

Hello again Stan, I think I phrased the question wrong. I meant does the second use his own katana, or does he use the katana of the man he is assisting? Is there some sort of ceremony with the dead man's blades that is performed by the second? Why do the women have to slit their throats instead of the belly? Thanks again!

Mike Tounian
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Postby takematsu » Fri Jan 16, 2004 19:54 +0000

Why do the women have to slit their throats instead of the belly?

If memory serves, it's because it's relatively easier and less painful-- women aren't expected to prove anything with an antepenultimate display of machismo. A similar notion lies behind children only having to mime the action with a fan.

The other questions are fascinating (if morbid)-- I'm interested to find out now too. I suspect a second would use his own weapon, as it's familiar. There's enough variation in weight and balance in katana that he might well make a hash of it if, for example, he's used to heavy-blade/weight-forward and he performs the office with something light/rearward.
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Postby digulla » Sun Jan 18, 2004 11:49 +0000

Tounian wrote:does the second use his own katana, or does he use the katana of the man he is assisting?

Since his sword is the soul of a samurai, I doubt that he would accept if someone else would touch it while he was alive. Moreover, handling a sword is not as easy as it looks, so I would also guess that the second would refuse to use any sword but his own for this act.

Tounian wrote:Is there some sort of ceremony with the dead man's blades that is performed by the second?

I never heard about this but my guess is that the dead man left very specific instructions how to handle them.
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