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ns," was the answer; "hari-kari is quite a

nother thing." "Please tell us how it is performed," said Fred. "It is not altogether a pleasant subject," remarked the Doctor, with a slight shudder; "but as we want to learn all we can of the manners and customs of the people we are among, and as we are now among the Japanese, I suppose we must give some attention to hari-kari. "To understand the question thoroughly,

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the Oriental way of thinking is very ofte

n the exact reverse of our way. We have one idea of honor and the Japanese have another; who is right or who is wrong we will not pretend to say, as each party has its own particular views and will not readily yield to the other. Writers on Japan differ considerably in their views of Japanese points of honor, and there are disagreements on the subject among the Japanese themselves; therefore I cannot speak with absolute exactness about it. According to the old code, all persons holding office under the government were required to kill themselves in the way mentioned whenever they had committed any crime, though not till they had received an order to do so from the court. If they disobeyed the order, their families would be disinherited, and none of their descendants would be allowed to hold office ever after; consequently a re

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submission to the custom. There was no dis

grace attached to a death by hari-kari, and in former times its occurrence was almost an every-day affair. One writer says, 'The sons of all persons of quality exercise themselves in their youth, for five or six years, with a view to performing the operation, in case of need, with gracefulness and dexterity; and they take as much pains to acquire this accomplishment as youth among us to become elegant dancers or skilful horsemen; hence the profound contempt of death which they imbibe in early years.' Curious custom, isn't it, according to our notions?" Both the boys thought it was, and said they were glad that they were not born in a country where such ideas of honor prevailed. The Doctor told them that an old story, which he had no doubt was[Pg 223] true, since it accorded with the Japanese ideas of honor, would be a very good illustration of the subject. It was concerning two high officers of the court who met one day on a staircase, and accidentally jostled each other. One was a very quick-tempered man, and dema