“Japanese prime minister should commit seppuku”. What is it and why is it offensive?

“The Japanese Prime Minister should commit seppuku”, was the statement of a Russian politician and that left all of Japan offended by such use of the term.


Suppuku is an act performed by a samurai to honorably take his life after having undergone some shame. That, in itself, coming from a politician to a Japanese Prime Minister is a huge offense. But first, let’s better understand the context in which this statement was laid down.


The Japanese Prime Minister and Russia

The Japanese Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida met with US President Joe Biden at the White House in January 2023. Among the numerous discussions, one of them was the war in Ukraine. With Russia’s continued military aggression a matter of great concern to both Japan and the US, the two leaders issued a joint statement condemning their neighbor’s invasion, which included:

“We unequivocally declare that any use of a nuclear weapon by Russia in Ukraine would be an act of hostility against humanity and unjustifiable in any way. And we will continue to support Ukraine in the face of Russia’s heinous attacks on critical infrastructure.”

Faced with a statement like that, some kind of Russian response was expected that could be a little more aggressive. But even if it was in an aggressive tone, the expectation is that it would follow diplomatic terms.


It is the kind of firm but politely phrased sentiment one would expect from men involved in high-level diplomatic matters. the answer of Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, however, was much more colorful: Kishida should kill himself.

Specifically, Medvedev thinks Kishida should have committed seppuku, ritually disemboweling himself in the manner practiced by samurai during Japan’s feudal era, whose shame was so great that they concluded they could never fully atone for their transgressions.

Therefore, we can highlight that for the Russian politician, anyone who condemns the war in Ukraine is committing a shameful act. The Japanese prime minister chose, for the time being, not to comment on the statements. In addition to being absurd, it also makes a simple reading of what the samurai were for the history of Japan and what honor and the act of committing suicide were about for these warriors.


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Russia against the Japanese Prime Minister

“Tremendous shame. I can’t even comment on that illusion,” said Medvedev, who had no problem contradicting himself with further comments. “The only way to [Kishida] washing away your shame is committing seppuku at a cabinet meeting,” he asserted, despite the fact that seppuku has not been common for over 100 years in Japan.

“I am completely ignoring [a declaração]”, continued Medvedev, “and I have not even apologized to the American president”, without expanding on whether he also thinks Biden should kill himself or by what method.

Source: Sora News.


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