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Paperback, General Books, 2010, ISBN13 9781443201612, ISBN10 1443201618
Excerpt: ... enters the screened enclosure, accompanied by his supporters. It will be noticed, that the retainers guarding the exterior and entrance are barefooted, which is a mark of respect in honour of the rank of the culprit, and of the solemnity of the occasion. THE TYCOON'S MESSENGERS READING THE SENTENCE The Tycoon's messengers then read the imperial mandate, which proclaims that, in accordance with the ancient custom of the country, the Daimio is permitted honourably to sacrifice himself for its benefit, and thus to expiate in his own person the crime or offence he has committed against the welfare of the state. In the illustration, the two officials charged with this disagreeable office are sitting opposite the Daimio and his friends, reading the fatal document, their suite surrounding them in respectful attitudes. The whole party wear the official dress, which intimates at once the respect due to the victim and the official nature of the ceremony. THE SACRIFICE The second scene shows the Daimio on the point of performing the sacrificial ceremony. His forelock is reversed, as a sign of submission to his fate, and to assist the executioner, who, as soon as his master goes through the form of disembowelling himself with the knife on the stand, will, with one blow of his razor-edged sword, complete the sacrifice by decapitation. Only the two chief commissioners appointed by the Tycoon, and the sorely-tasked supporters of the victim, remain to witness the last act of the drama. The rest of the party await its completion in the adjoining compartment of the enclosure, which is expressly constructed for that purpose. The funeral procession, which is the subject of the next scene, is accompanied by all the pomp indicative of the high position of the deceased. The mourners wear robes of white cloth, and all the feudal paraphernalia are draped with the same material; which, as before mentioned, is used in Japanese mourning. The coffin is carried near the head...
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