Viewing a single comment thread. View all comments

whyyoutookmyname t1_j6brep5 wrote

Sort of, but it's a little bit different from Japan. The Chinese term 赐死 roughly translates to "ordered/forced suicide" in English.
Seppuku was mostly voluntary and often considered honorable.
On the other hand, only the king or the Emperor in China had the power to order someone to commit suicide. Unlike seppuku, the ordered suicide in China was not exactly honored, but it was certainly better than execution.

For example, if Wu Zixu was ordered to be executed,  he would be treated like a criminal with no dignity. He had to spend his time in jail eating terrible or even spoiled food, wearing dirty clothes, living in a filthy cell room, etc. When the time came, the peasants would watch his execution in public. And worse, since he was considered guilty of treason, his family and relatives could also be exiled or executed.
So when Fu Chai ordered him to commit suicide, it more or less sent a message like this:

"Look, Wu Zixu, you have committed a terrible crime. Normally, you and your children will be executed, your siblings and parents will be exiled, and your grandchildren will be known as the desendents of the traitor. But since you have made significant contributions to our kingdom, I'm giving you the choice to end all of this with dignity. I promise you, everything will be resolved once you end your life, and your family will be spared. If you don't do it now, then I have to do it myself. Things will get really ugly, for me, for you, and for your family."

When the Emperor ordered you to commit suicide, you would usually receive one or more of the following: a long strip of white silk (for hanging yourself), a cup of poisoned wine, or a sword. Before ending yourself, you would need to thank the emperor for allowing you to keep your (and your family's) dignity. You will not be honored, but you will not look too bad in history record and your family will be saved.


AlwaysBored10711 OP t1_j6c5rar wrote

Ok that makes sense. Thanks again for taking the time to type that out for me! You seem very knowledgeable on the subject!