Form of Japanese ritual suicide by disembowelment

Seppuku, sometimes referred to as harakiri, a native Japanese kun reading, is a form of Japanese ritual suicide by disembowelment. It was originally reserved for samurai in their code of honor but was also practiced by other Japanese people during the Shōwa period to restore honor for themselves or for their families. As a samurai practice, seppuku was used voluntarily by samurai to die with honor rather than fall into the hands of their enemies, 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, consists of plunging a short blade, traditionally a tantō, into the belly and drawing the blade from left to right, slicing the belly open. If the cut is deep enough, it can sever the descending aorta, causing a rapid death by blood loss.