The term "hara-kiri" is derived from the Japanese words "hara" (belly) and "kiri" (to cut) and entails inflicting a wound in one's abdomen with a sharp object. From the 12th to 17th centuries, hara-kiri was a form of ritual suicide in Japan. Defeated warriors (samurai) often resorted to hara-kiri. From the 17th to 19th centuries, hara-kiri was a form of death penalty, disguised as suicide, for accused individuals of Japan's warrior class. In general, hara-kiri is based on the Japanese ideal that an honorable death is more desirable than a life of shame. Kamiya-Takai and his colleagues wanted to learn what role, if any, hara-kiri plays in suicide attempters in contemporary Japan.