Tsujigiri: a ghastly samurai practice


Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/11/28/tsujigiri-a-ghastly-samurai-p.html


so a standard Player Character in most/many RPGs


Well, that’s not playing fair.


No no no; if you behead them, you can’t properly reanimate the bodies afterwards. Always stab your peasants.


So I guess we’re the peasants and Trump is the samurai?


I believe that eating the feces of 999 wild dogs will cure my incontinence.

I am up to 857. I will let you know if it works.


so a standard Player Character in most/many RPGs

You misspelled cop and police departments.


The Japanese have always enjoyed pranking the unsuspecting public it seems.


Good to know we can count on Pokemon to pass on this fine tradition to the little ones.


Tsujigiri simply means to kill a random passerby with a sword.


I was always the impression that this was largely a myth as opposed to an actual thing that happened with any regularity.



In the west, everyone likes to think of Samurai as inherently honorable, because they follow Bushido.

Bushido is not incompatible with nonsense like this, however. Samurai did lots of pretty shitty things which didn’t conflict with their moral codes.

Something I learned about from a Japanese friend of mine with a weird amount of historical knowledge was the background of the 8 bit NES game “Ikki”. (shoutout: he doesn’t get comissions from it, but his beer money in college came from translating old Japanese texts for this book)

Some other stuff maybe we don’t view as moral behavior today is the practice of young boys as apprentices and lovers.


I did read the article, I just object to it being described as ‘a ghastly samurai practice’ as if it were some special rite. It was extremely rare, not like random murders in the US.


I think the word ‘practice’ is what’s making it sound common, and thus making feudal Japan seem savage and strange when the truth is that it really depends on what era we’re talking about: there were times of darkness, and times of great liberality and progress.


I was just reading the other day about how Bushido is itself a rather modern concept. A 19th century codification of 18th and 17th century romantic and philosophical writing that was also essentially looking back and grafting concepts onto an earlier period. Basically Japan was at peace and Samurai had to justify their existence and find something to do with themselves. With a rise in nationalism in the 19th century one guy picked through all that and presented a supposedly millennias old code of courtly conduct. It’s apparently only so central to conceptions of Japan because the Meiji picked up that one guy’s work to bind together their new, modern standing army with nationalist ideas.

Its interesting because Western Chivalry has some similar “these myths about the past are TOTALLY a formal code of conduct” elements.


They were a warrior caste, similar to many other cultures.

Also similar to many other cultures.

Most murders aren’t random. The truly random ones are relatively rare. Though the Katana was an elegant weapon for a more civilized time. Not as clumsy or random as a machine gun.



I will never think of murdering small animals in a pokemans game for arbitrary points as anything else now.

Thanks bro!


Usually, when a character randomly kills some poor slob in a movie/show/book, I usually think “yeah, yeah, mr/ms author, we get it, you’ve established he’s eeeeeeevil. Little more effort in coming up with something plausible and less cliché next time?” Thanks, reality, for making that trope accurate.