Obligatory hara-kiri was abolished in 1868, but its voluntary form has persisted. It was performed by 40 military men in 1895 as a protest against the return of conquered territory, the Liaotung peninsula, to China by General Nogi on the death of Emperor Meiji in 1912 and by numerous soldiers as an alternative to surrender in World War II. Hara-kiri was much discussed in recent years in connection with the death, in 1970, of Mishima , the well-known novelist and rightist political leader.
For detailed accounts of hara-kiri, see A. B. F. Redesdale, Tales of Old Japan (1919).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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