The Apocryphal Suicide of Saigō Takamori: Samurai, Seppuku, and the Politics of Legend

  title={The Apocryphal Suicide of Saigō Takamori: Samurai, Seppuku, and the Politics of Legend},
  author={Mark Ravina},
  journal={The Journal of Asian Studies},
  pages={691 - 721}
  • M. Ravina
  • Published 1 August 2010
  • History
  • The Journal of Asian Studies
According to standard reference works, the Meiji leader Saigō Takamori committed ritual suicide in 1877. A close reading of primary sources, however, reveals that Saigō could not have killed himself as commonly described; instead, he was crippled by a bullet wound and beheaded by his followers. Saigō's suicide became an established part of Japanese history only in the early 1900s, with the rise of bushidō as a national ideology. By contrast, in the 1870s and 1880s, the story of Saigō's suicide… 

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