Seppuku, Samurai and the Suit of Swords

Cutting the belly – seppuku or harakiri – is a form of Japanese ritual suicide originally reserved for the samurai: the medieval military class. The purpose of Seppuku was to achieve an honourable death. The practise was sometimes used to die voluntarily rather than fall into the hands of their enemies – and likely suffer torture. At other times, it was used as a form of capital punishment for samurai who had committed serious offences or had brought shame to themselves.