(No place): No printing details, (c.1950-c.1979). An amazing archive of 438 photographic images depicting the Japanese ritual of seppuku. Seppuku is stomach- or abdomen-cutting, a form of Japanese ritual suicide by disembowelment. Seppuku was originally reserved for Samurai and predominately a male preserve. Seppuku as judicial punishment was abolished in 1873, shortly after the Meiji Restoration, but voluntary seppuku did not completely die out. In 1970, famed author Yukio Mishima and one of his followers committed public seppuku at the Japan Self-Defense Forces headquarters after an unsuccessful attempt to incite the armed forces to stage a coup d’état. Seppuku has also progressed into popular culture with references in both the James Bond novel The Man with the Red Tattoo and the video game Tomb Raider as well as being depicted in the TV series The Man in the High Castle. In recent times however most references have been less historic and more sexual and this is exampled in Highschool Student Seppuku a painting by Makoto Aida one the preeminent figures of Japanese contemporary art and its numerous depictions in hentai manga. The images here show only female practioners, and in a few instances proceed beyond the act of seppuku with knives and swords inserted into breasts and vaginas. In a number of images the weapon does not pierce the skin and it is likely the images were prepared for the sexual fetish market. A fetishism that perhaps has its roots in euphemism of penetration by something hard into something soft and wet. An unusual and interesting archive, worthy of further research. 438 photographs of varying sizes, 254 of which are in colour and 184 in black and white.


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