In the past, self-infliction of sharp force was a classic form of suicide, while in modern times it is quite rare, constituting only 2% to 3% of all self-inflicted deaths. In Japan, the jigai ritual is a traditional method of female suicide, carried out by cutting the jugular vein using a knife called a tantō. The jigai ritual is the feminine counterpart of seppuku (well-known as harakiri), the ritual suicide of samurai warriors, which was carried out by a deep slash into the abdomen. In contrast to seppuku, jigai can be performed without assistance, which was fundamental for seppuku.
The case we describe here involves an unusual case of suicide in which the victim was a male devotee of Japanese culture and weapons. He was found dead in his bathtub with a deep slash in the right lateral-cervical area, having cut only the internal jugular vein with a tantō knife, exactly as specified by the jigai ritual.
From the Department of Anatomy, Histology, Forensic Medicine and Orthopedics, “Sapienza” University of Rome, Rome, Italy.
Manuscript received December 5, 2012; accepted March 28, 2013.
The authors report no conflicts of interest.
Reprints: Aniello Maiese, MD, Department of Anatomy, Histology, Forensic Medicine and Orthopedics, “Sapienza” University of Rome, Viale Regina Elena, 336-00161 Rome, Italy. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.