Kuyili gave her life to win a war. But others have killed themselves after defeat. At the end of the Second World War and the allied defeat of Japan, the Japanese Minister of War, General Korechika Anami, killed himself according to the ancient art of Seppuku. Anami had had a lifelong career in the military. By the beginning of the Second World War, he was vice minister of war and in 1943, promoted to full general and war minister in 1945. To him, surrender was not an option.
As Minister of war, Anami was against the idea of Japan’s surrender, even though he knew the continued combat was damaging Japan’s civilian infrastructure. Even the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki did not change his mind. Instead, Anami proposed that Japan continue to fight on the Japanese mainland.
“Japan is not losing the war since we have not lost any homeland territory,” Anami argued. “ I object to conducting negotiations on the assumption that we are defeated.” He believed that if Japan could cause sufficient Allied casualties, the country could keep some of its wartime conquests and save face.
Eventually, Emperor Hirohito called for surrender. Anami was a traditionalist; he would not defy his Emperor. So on August 14, Anami conceded and signed the surrender document with the rest of the Japanese cabinet. The next day, clad in his dress uniform, he attempted to slice his belly open during the ritual of seppuku. Correctly done, the knife should have penetrated far enough to cut the descending aorta and cause swift death by internal bleeding. But Anami messed up. After three and a half hours, a staff officer ordered his suffering ended, and he was finished off by lethal injection.