This text about Japan was written by A.B. Mitford and originally published in 1871. Ever since its publication it has become a classic on Japanese history and culture. From the amazing story of the... More > Forty-Seven Ronin to an eyewitness account of Hara-Kiri (ritual Japanese suicide) this text covers many Japanese stories and traditions unknown to the West at that time.
"The recent revolution in Japan has wrought changes social as well as political; and it may be that when, in addition to the advance which has already been made, railways and telegraphs shall have connected the principal points of the Land of Sunrise, the old Japanese, such as he was and had been for centuries when we found him eleven short years ago, will have become extinct. It has appeared to me that no better means could be chosen of preserving a record of a curious and fast disappearing civilization than the translation of some of the most interesting national legends and histories."
-Tales of Old Japan 1871< Less
What you are about to read is an account taken from A.B. Mitford’s work “Tales of Old Japan” circa 1871. Seppuku (hara-kiri) was a Japanese suicide ritual often performed by... More > Samurai. Up until this point no one in the Western world had witnessed it, or even believed that it was real. The events below detail an actual eyewitness account of Japanese ritualistic suicide by a foreigner. A foreigner who happened to record and write about the event in detail…and in English.
The Foreword is written by Daniel DiMarzio. Additional historic material related to hara-kiri is also given. In addition the original English version of the now famous "Forty-Seven Ronin" story written circa 1871 is provided.< Less