This first comprehensive history in English of Japanese ritual suicide offers both action-packed stories that read like fiction, and invaluable scholarship - now in paperback.

This impeccably researched survey looks at seppuku (or hara-kiri, as it's more commonly known outside Japan) from ancient to modern times. Author Andrew Rankin presents a selection of thrilling historical and literary samurai stories, as well as details about every aspect of the ritual, including: choosing and preparing the location, selecting a second, what to wear, shaving the head and bathing, the cutting technique, and different styles of seppuku. The author worked directly from original sources, such as medieval war tales, documents of the samurai clans, and execution handbooks; and provides much information that has never appeared in English before.