Kiri sute gomen
(斬り捨て御免 or 切り捨て御免: literally, "authorization to cut and leave" (the body of the victim) is an old Japanese
expression dating back to the feudal era right to strike
had the right to strike with sword at anyone of a lower class
who was compromising their honour
. This applied to higher ranked samurai striking lower ranked samurai.
Because the right was defined as a part of self defense, the strike had to follow immediately after the offense, meaning that the striker could not attack someone for a past grievance. Also, due to the right being self defense, it was not permissible to deliver further coup de grâce
. Moreover, the samurai who exercised the right had to prove the correctness of his action in court by producing witness. Punishment for the incorrect exercise of this right was severe. An offender could be beheaded without being allowed to commit seppuku
and have his house abolished, meaning that one of his sons could not succeed the title. Due to the seriousness of the punishment, many committed seppuku to pre-empt the verdict. A samurai visiting different feudal province had to be extremely careful, especially if it was in Edo, the seat of Shogun. Wrongful executions of commoners from different feudal province were seen as an offense against a feudal state. It was thus advisable for samurai visiting different provinces to be accompanied by his servant, so as to provide witness.
Because of somewhat arbitrary nature... Read More