Suicide and culture in Japan: A study of seppuku as an institutionalized form of suicide
- Toyomasa Fusé
- … show all 1 hide
Purchase on Springer.com
$39.95 / €34.95 / £29.95*
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.
Seppuku (i. e., ritual suicide by disembowelment, vulgarized in the West asharakiri) has been a popular theme in Japan's literature and theatre for years. It has been a time-honoured traditional form of suicide among the samurai class in Japan for centuries. There has been a discernible propensity in the West to understand suicide behaviour in terms of psychological and psychiatric theories. A study ofseppuku casts some serious doubt on the validity and appropriateness of such “psychologism” as applied to non-Western cultures such as Japan.Seppuku in Japan has been nurtured in Japan's socio-cultural tradition as one of the socially and culturally prescribed and positively sanctioned role-behaviour in hierarchical organizations as well as in highly formal and tightly-knit human groups and classes. Seppuku may have become extremely rare in contemporary Japan but the type of suicide related to one's role-performance still seems to continue even in the twentieth century. Hence a study ofseppuku enables us to understand better the unique cultural tradition and “aesthetics of death” in an otherwise highly technological and robust industrial society. Ultimately,seppuku is one of the keys to appreciate the deep relationship between suicide and culture in Japan.
- Osumi, M.: Seppuku no rekishi (History of seppuku), pp. 7–9. Tokyo: Yusankaku 1973
- Ibid pp. 13–16 1973.
- Nakayasu, H.: Seppuku no enkaku (History of seppuku). In: Jisatsugaku: jisatsu to bunka (Suicidology: suicide and culture), Vol. V, pp. 88–89 (ed. K. Ohara). Tokyo: Shibundo 1974
- Osumi, M.: op. cit. , pp. 50–51
- Hasegawa, I.: Junshi to junsatsu (Junshi and junsatsu). In: Jisatsugaku: jisatsu no seishin byori (Suicidology: psychiatric pathology of suicide), Vol. II, pp. 125–140, (ed. K. Ohara). Tokyo: Shibundo 1974
- Keene, D.: Chushingura. New York: Columbia University Press 1972
- Osumi, M.: op. cit. pp. 220–224
- Yagiri, T.: Seppuku ronko (Essay on seppuku). Tokyo: Chuo Koronsha 1960; Nakai, I.: Seppuku. Tokyo: Nobero Shobo 1960; Seward, L.: Harakiri. Tuttle 1968; Osumi, M.: op. cit.
- DeVos, G.: Role narcissism and the etiology of Japanese suicide. In: Socialization for achievement, pp. 43. 8–485, (ed. G. DeVos). Berkeley: University of California Press 1973
- Tamura, Y., Minamoto, R. (eds.): Nippon ni okeru sei to shi no shiso (Thoughts on life and death in Japan), pp. 183–187. Tokyo: Yuhikaku 1977
- Yuasa, Y.: Kodai nipponjin no sei to shi. In: ibid.. (eds. Y. Tamura, R. Minamoto) pp. 2–16
- Tamura, Y.: Seishi jojyu no tetsgaku (Philosophy on the universal phenomenon of life and death). In: ibid. pp. 66–79
- Gibbs, J. P.: Suicide. In: Contemporary social problems, (eds. R. K. Merton, R. Nisbet), pp. 271–312. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich 1971; Inamura, H.: Jisatsugaku (Suicidology), pp. 61–67. Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press 1977
- Suicide and culture in Japan: A study of seppuku as an institutionalized form of suicide
Volume 15, Issue 2 , pp 57-63
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Additional Links
- Toyomasa Fusé (1)
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Department of Sociology, York University, Downsview, Ontario, Canada