Messed Up Things You Didn't Know About The Samurai

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The samurai! As one of the most legendary warrior classes in history, samurai are a staple of pop culture and high culture alike. Because of their popularity, we know a lot about the samurai, but some of the more obscure things are pretty dark. Here are messed up facts about the samurai.

History explains that seppuku is a ritualistic suicide method where a samurai slices his stomach open with a small sword. Ever since it emerged in the 12th century as an honorable method for losing samurai to die on the battlefield, Japan has wrought all sorts of abdominal-slicing doom upon its elite warrior class. According to ThoughtCo, there were two basic ways of doing the deed. The more awful variation had the performer cut his abdomen open with a vertical and a horizontal cut, then wait for death in excruciating pain. However, most opted for the softer variant, where a helper decapitated them immediately after the first cut.

Outside the battlefield, seppuku was an elaborate process, where the participants made a day out of it with rituals such as the writing of a "death poem" and having a good drink of sake before grabbing the blade. Usually, there were even spectators present. Samurai warriors could perform seppuku as a political protest, or to show their overwhelming grief over the death of a beloved leader. It was also a form of death sentence: Shoguns and daimyos could command their underlings to perform seppuku for "real or perceived" slights, at which point the person had to follow through, or else he'd bring shame to himself and his entire family.

Watch the video for more Messed Up Things You Didn't Know About The Samurai!

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Secrets of seppuku | 0:17
Samurai bushido | 1:20
Forced samurai marriages | 2:32
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Samurai poverty | 4:10
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The last stand | 6:19
Injury to insult | 7:32
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The Meiji Restoration | 9:50

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