The Japanese practice of ritualistic suicide, also known as seppuku, was a brutal tradition.
The first recorded act of ritual suicide dates back to the year 1180 A.D. and was committed on the battlefield by poet Minamoto no Yorimasa. After that, the practice came to bear great significance, and it was even used as a form of capital punishment in Japan for a short time.
During World War II, it was not uncommon for Japanese officers who failed in their duties to end their lives.
The following photo series surfaced online earlier this week. It shows an unnamed Japanese officer preparing for and then committing suicide following a defeat.
Typically, seppuku was committed by plunging a sword into the abdomen and pulling it across from left to right.
During the ceremony, a second person stood by and executed a killing blow when the time was right.
Throughout World War II, this was most often done with a rifle.
Depending on the length of the sword being used, they sometimes wrapped it in cloth on one end to avoid cutting their hands on the blade and making a mistake.
The following photos are extremely graphic, so consider yourself warned.
As you can see, the man’s partner shot him after the blade was plunged into his abdomen.
This is the aftermath.
(via China Underground)
The last recorded case occurred in 2001. The practice in contemporary Japan is more or less nonexistent, at least as far as the general public knows.