Home Podcasts Ichimon Japan What is seppuku? (Part 2) | Ichimon Japan 19

What is seppuku? (Part 2) | Ichimon Japan 19

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Today’s Question

On this episode of Ichimon Japan we finish off the discussion on seppuku that we started in episode 18 with two very interesting examples of people cutting themselves open.

Topics Discussed

  • General Maresuke Nogi
  • The death by (kind of sanctioned?) seppuku of General Nogi Maresuke
  • The cork-sized plugs found in General Nogi’s rectum
  • Nogi Shrine in Tokyo
  • The story of Matsudaira Tadaaki, a samurai who should not have fallen asleep near his swords
  • And more!

Note/Kind of a spoiler: In the episode Ryan asks if the two plugs General Nogi used to prevent anal leakage were used only by General Nogi or by General Nogi and his wife. The footnote in Seppuku by Andrew Rankin makes it clear that two plugs were found in General Nogi’s rectum. It makes no mention of what was found in General Nogi’s wife’s rectum.

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Sources, Links, Videos, Etc.

The vast majority of the information cited during this episode came from the book Seppuku: A History of Samurai Suicide by Andrew Rankin. It is a very well-researched, informative, and fun to read book that has a whole lot more information than what we were able to cover in this episode. If you would like to get a copy of the book for yourself, please consider using the Amazon affiliate link below. It won’t cost you anything extra and it will help support what we’re doing here at Japankyo.com.

You can also just use the link below to do your shopping on Amazon, while at the same time supporting Japankyo.

This video is a clip from the Japanese television show Toribia no Izumi (Spring of Trivia). It goes over the story of Matsudaira Tadaaki (the sleepy acseppuku samurai).

A few more details about Matsudaira Tadaaki can be found in his Japanese language Wikipedia entry.

Just in case you read Japanese and would like more information on Nogi Shrine, you can check out the shrine’s website via the link below.

If you haven’t gotten your fill of disembowelment and are curious about the “intestines episode” that was mentioned during this episode, then check out episode two of Ichimon Japan.

Japanese Vocabulary List

Most episodes feature at least one or two interesting Japanese words or phrases. Here’s some of the ones that came up on this episode. All information is from Jim Breen’s WWWJDIC.

  • Seppuku
    • 切腹 【せっぷく】 (n,vs) seppuku; harakiri; ritual suicide by disembowelment
  • Hara-kiri
    • 腹切り : 腹切り; 腹切 【はらきり】 (n,vs) (See 切腹) harakiri; seppuku; ritual suicide by disembowelment
  • Utatane
    • うたた寝 【うたたね】 (n,vs) doze; nap; snooze
  • Majime
    • 真面目 : 真面目(ateji)(P); 眞面目 【まじめ(P); マジメ(P)】 (adj-na,n) serious; honest; sober; grave; earnest; steady
  • Shōki
    • 正気 【しょうき】 (n,adj-no) (See 狂気) sanity; consciousness; soberness

We Want Your Questions

Is there something about Japan that confuses you? Is there something about Japanese culture that you would like to learn more about? Is there something in Japanese history that you would like us to explain? We’re always looking for new questions about Japan to answer, so if you have one, please send it to ichimon@japankyo.com.

Special Thanks

Opening/Closing Theme: Produced by Apol (YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Fiverr)

Ichimon Japan cover art: Produced by Erik R.

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Full Show Notes


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