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Punishment in ancient Japan was brutal. Source: YouTube Screenshot / Crazy Histories.

Shocking Punishments in Ancient Japan! (Video)


Medieval Japan, often romanticized for its samurai culture, had a dark side characterized by brutal punishment and oppression. Peasants faced a grim fate in a society dominated by samurai overlords and the shogunates. The justice system favored the elite, and peasants were at their mercy. Punishments were cruel, with crimes often repaid through equally painful means. Hanging was considered less shameful but still brutal. More gruesome methods included being sawn in half and even boiled alive, though the latter was rare.

Public humiliation was part of the punishment, with criminals paraded through towns and their families ostracized. Treason led to ritual suicide, seppuku, for samurai, a grim testament to their authority. Christianity faced persecution as a foreign influence, with adherents forced to renounce their faith under the threat of hanging or subjected to degrading rituals like crawling naked through the streets and being thrown into snake pits. These shocking punishments expose the harsh reality beneath the samurai's veneer of honor. Medieval Japan's justice system was marked by cruelty, creating a stark division between the powerful and the powerless.

Top image: Punishment in ancient Japan was brutal. Source: YouTube Screenshot / Crazy Histories.

By Robbie Mitchell

Robbie Mitchell's picture


I’m a graduate of History and Literature from The University of Manchester in England and a total history geek. Since a young age, I’ve been obsessed with history. The weirder the better. I spend my days working as a freelance... Read More

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