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Thread: Seppuku vs Hari Kari

  1. #1
    Khahan Guest

    Default Seppuku vs Hari Kari

    i'm not sure if this is the best forum to ask this, but here goes:
    A friend of mine asked me what the difference between Seppuku and Hari Kari is?

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    I suppose you mean 'hara-kiri'. There is no difference in the action involved. The 'hara' is located in the region of your [lower] belly and 'kiri' means cut. Seppuku is the 'official' word for [honorable] suicide, by slitting your belly. Hara-kiri is [often] considered 'vulgar'. As hara-kiri is 'just' a description of a technique/action, I could 'hara-kiri' you, but you could not 'seppuku' me.

  3. #3
    Khahan Guest

    Default thank you

    That makes a lot of sense. I had never put hara-kiri and hara together, probably because I always heard them pronounced differently. I've always heard hara-kiri pronounced like 'hairy carey' and hara pronounced like ha-ra, so they never clicked in my mind.
    Thanks for the answer.

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    You're welcome. I suggest, if you want to know more about the subject, do a search of e-budo or Google and see what comes up. There's a lot of ritual and a second [person] involved. Also, don't trust the media [movies] on this - most have it wrong. Not all samurai who failed [were allowed to] commit seppuku. And some people were 'forced' to commit seppuku without needing to.

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    I put a bit here.

    http://www.hyoho.com/Hagakure1.html

    Hyakutake Colin
    Hyakutake Colin

    All the best techniques are taught by survivors.


    http://www.hyoho.com

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    Hi people,

    This my undersatnding of the difference, some of the points have already been covered.

    Hara-kiri = Belly slitting, vulgar, not always with the upward cut.

    Seppaku = Ritual disembowelment cutting across and then upwards allowing for the entrails to fall out, considered to be excruciating and therefore courageous and honorable.

    Anyway my 2cents worth, I'm sure there are far more informed people out there who can give you more info.

    Cheers

    Jason

  7. #7
    KumaKage Guest

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    Wow, thanks guys, I didn't know the difference before now.

    Has anyone seen the movie the Masaki Kobayashi movie Seppuku (titled Harakiri in the U.S. for whatever reason)? It is an excellent movie (in my opinion) reflecting on what is truly honorable.

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    Just a quick question, why is it hara-kiri and not hara-kiru?
    Peter Ross

    Waiter: "Can I tell you about today's specials?"
    Patrick Bateman: "Not if you want to keep your spleen"

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    Originally posted by meat
    Just a quick question, why is it hara-kiri and not hara-kiru?
    Maybe because it describes a technique; like shomen-giri, kesa-giri, etc.? But then, why wouldn't it be hara-giri? Hmm. Good question.
    Yours in Budo,
    ---Brian---

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    Originally posted by meat
    Just a quick question, why is it hara-kiri and not hara-kiru?
    My Jpn is not so great, but I think it's "kiri" and not "kiru" because you're saying "cutting" and not "will cut". (The jargon would be, "kiri" is the gerundal form of the verb.)
    Don J. Modesto
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    "Harakiri" and "seppuku" are written with the same two Chinese characters, but in reverse order.

    "Hara (belly) kiri (cutting)": the characters are pronounced in the kun yomi, or native Japanese fashion.

    "Setsu (cut) fuku (belly)": the characters are pronounced in the on yomi, or Chinese fashion. When put together in a jukugo, or compound word (a word made up of more than one Chinese character), the characters are usually pronounced after the Chinese fashion, and often change pronunciation somewhat to make the word easier to pronounce, thus "seppuku" instead of "setsufuku".

    Thus, "harakiri" is a colloquial term for the act of ritual disembowelment (usually considered somewhat vulgar) and "seppuku" is the polite formal term for the same act.

    As to why it is "harakiri" and not "harakiru", "-kiri" acts somewhat like a noun and indicates the kind of cut being made: Kesa-giri (oblique cut), "shomen-giri" (straight ahead cut), etc. (this is simliar to the fact that "cut" in English can be both a verb and a noun, e.g, "I cut him with a sideways cut"). "Kiru" is the verb form.

    And, oh yes, Seppuku is indeed a good movie, one of the best. I assume it was entitled Harakiri in the US so people would not hear the title of the film and go "huh?, but instead go "Harry-carry? Yeah, that sounds like a cool flick!"
    Last edited by Earl Hartman; 13th October 2003 at 20:13.
    Earl Hartman

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    Default Pronunciations

    Originally posted by Khahan
    ...I had never put hara-kiri and hara together, probably because I always heard them pronounced differently. I've always heard hara-kiri pronounced like 'hairy carey' and hara pronounced like ha-ra, so they never clicked in my mind...
    Hara-kiri is a common one. Another is karaoke; most people here say it as if it was Romanized "kerioki." "Kara," like in karate, is "empty." Karaoke is "empty orchestra."

    It's not limited to just Japanese words, of course. How many people call espresso "expresso" because they know the word "express."

    Here in Seattle we have an annual festival called "Bumbershoot" based on an obscure name for an umbrella (an inside joke. It doesn't really rain here all the time like people say; only 9 or 10 months out of 12), but more than half the people I hear pronounce it "Bumpershoot" instead of "Bumbershoot" because "bumper" is a common word.

    As serious budoka we have to try harder. (See my brief rant about bad pronunciation in the "Kill Bill" movie thread.)

    A friend who speaks Japanese gave me a little phrase to remember how to pronounce Japanese vowels (based on the common American vowel order):

    A E I O U: "Mom let me go too."

    He said in the begining, pronounce all vowels like that. He said later I'd learn exeptions; sometimes "o" is pronounced like in "horse" and sometimes like in "polo," etc.

    Someday I'll take a Japanese course, but until then this is a start.
    Last edited by Brian Owens; 14th October 2003 at 00:26.
    Yours in Budo,
    ---Brian---

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    The following is my understanding of the difference between the two terms. Seppuku was the formal ritual of self-immolation, by the "two cuts" in the abdomen, with witnesses present. A "second" would decapitate the person (who was performing the ritual) before they show signs of pain or agony, which was considered to be disgraceful. Women made the two cuts in the throat instead of the abdomen. Hara-kiri was performed quickly and without ceremony, as in attempting to avoid capture by an enemy. In modern times, the term "hara-kiri" is considered to be inappropriate or rude.

    I have the Japanese film "Hara-Kiri" on DVD and it is a very good film, imo; however it may not be for everyone.
    Last edited by pullmyzipper; 5th August 2018 at 05:39. Reason: additional information

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