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Hara Kiri

head, dagger and dirk

HARA. KIRI is from Ham, JAPANESE, the belly and Kiri, root form of Kiru, to cut; a self-immola tion by disembowelling, a mode of self-executio] adopted in Japan. Practically, they make only small wound in the belly, and in the act of a doing a relative or other person, whom they hair selected, cuts off their head with a sweep of a sword. In 1869, when Taki Zenzaburo was permitted by the Mikado so to die, because he had ordered the Europeans to be fired upon at Kobe, he wore a dress of ceremony and a ximbaori coat. He advanced to the high altar and prostrated himself twice, with his pupil on his left to act as the kaishaku or beheading friend. He was presented with the waki -zashi, short sword or dirk, 9} inches long, which the victim raised to his head and placed in front of himself. Ho then con fessed aloud, I, and I alone, unwarrantably gave the order to fire on the foreigners at Kobe, and again as they tried to escape. For this crime I disembowel myself, and 1 beg you who are present to do me tho honour of witnessing the act.' Bowing again, ho let his clothes fall to the

waist, then took the dagger, and, stabbing himself below the waist on the left side, he drew it slowly across to the right side, and, turning the dirk in the wound, he gave it a slight upward turn. He then drew out the dirk, leant forward, and stretched out his neck. At that moment the kaishaku sprang to his feet, and with one blow severed the head from the body, made a low bow, wiped his sword, and retired. The stained dagger was then solemnly borne away as proof of the execution. The Samurai, or gentlemen of the mili tary class, are trained from infancy to regard this self-execution as an honourable form of expiation. In some parts of Japan, as the victim criminal stretches out his hand to take the wooden dagger, the kaishaku strikes off his head ; or a Dairnio disembowels himself and cuts his own throat. Mr. Mitfbrd in Cornh. Mag., Nov. 1869; Oliphant, ii. 147 ; Manners and Customs of the Japanese, 193.