Vaporis Trees         Voices publisher

This blog was created to solicit comments and questions on Voices of Early Modern Japan and to post additional resources that the author hopes will be of use to the reader.

Please post your questions or comments on the blog section of this website or direct your comments and questions directly to the author: voicesofearlymodernjapan@yahoo.com

2 Responses to Welcome

  1. David Walker says:

    Having just watched the excellent film, Twilight Samurai, I’m curious to know if there is a sense about what percentage of samurai would actually commit seppuku if so ordered. In the event you haven’t seen the film, a samurai refuses to follow orders to kill himself. A somewhat similar refusal is referred to in passing in James Clavell’s Shogun, though I don’t recall the details offhand. Presuming most samurai did follow orders to commit seppuku, are you aware of any trend regarding it across the Tokugawa Era? Here, I’m specifically imagining that the percentage of samurai who would refuse seppuku orders grew as the samurai gradually lost their raison d’etre across the era and various contradictions in the Tokugawa era weakened the regime and, perhaps, the norms of the samurai.

    • cnvaporis says:

      As far as I’m aware, there wasn’t any trend of increasing numbers of samurai refusing orders to commit seppuku. We should stop and ask, Why would increasing numbers of samurai be ordered to commit seppuku? There wasn’t for example a discernible increase in illegal fights (kenka) for which a samurai might be punished with forced seppuku. There is some evidence that domain governments tried to discourage samurai from exercising their “right” to kill an offensive or disrespectful commoner by punishing samurai, but with banishment rather than forced seppuku.

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