• Samurai usually had to chop of their enemy’s head to prove their master that they actually killed the right person, not a woman or child.
  • Additionally collecting more heads meant getting more stipend and promotion.
  • After chopping the head, samurai wives would clean and put some light make up to the face to pay their respect to the dead person.
  • There was a fortune-telling by checking the heads’ eyes.
  • The samurai had a list of expressions the severed head made and what the meaning of it was like some expressions would mean a bad omen so the Samurai would not take the head. These expressions ranged from one eye being closed to a look of terror upon death.
  • At the same time, every samurai also usually put incense inside their helmets knowing that they may get killed and their head does not stink and does not bother their killer.
  • In situations when the samurai did not have time to chop the enemy’s head, they then used to cut the upper lip (to distinguish if the head is male or female).
  • Generals displayed the heads of defeated rivals in public squares.
  • Bundori (by Laura Rowland) is a medieval murder mystery set in Japan and features to the formalized practice of “head trophies” by the samurai.
  • Sometime, after the head presentation ceremony, the soldier who slayed and took the head of the opponent was required to write a formal letter of apology and have the head return to the family. The family in turn was expected to accept the head and letter with good grace.
  • The Chopped Off Head series is born out of fascination, love and respect for Japan and their culture.



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