Seppuku (切腹), cutting the belly, sometimes referred to as harakiri (腹切り), abdomen/belly cutting, is a form of Japanese ritual suicide by disembowelment. It was originally reserved for samurai, to restore honour for themselves or for their families. As a samurai practice, seppuku was used either voluntarily by samurai to die with honor rather than fall into the hands of their enemies (and likely be tortured), as a form of capital punishment for samurai who had committed serious offenses, or performed because they had brought shame to themselves. The ceremonial disembowelment, which is usually part of a more elaborate ritual and performed in front of spectators, sometimes assisted by kashakunin, consists of plunging a short blade, traditionally a tantō, into the belly and drawing the blade from left to right, slicing the belly open.
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